POSTED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 6:56pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 7:35pm
UTEP will play the first of two home contests this week when it challenges Marshall at the Don Haskins Center at 7:05 p.m. The Miners (20-2, 9-0 C-USA) are riding their second 10-game win streak of the season, most recently having handed Rice its first league home loss, 45-41, on Feb. 5. The Thundering Herd (13-9, 4-5 C-USA) were edged out by UAB, 50-45, last time out on Feb. 5. The game will be streamed on Miner TV through UTEPAthletics.com (subscription required). Fans can get live updates through following the team’s official Twitter feed (@UTEPWBB).
Promos A Plenty This Week
Thursday’s game against Marshall is “Slam Dunk School Night,” and all kids get in free. Kids will also receive Southwest Dairy Farmers bags, and there will be an autograph session after the game. Sunday’s tilt vs. Tulane will be the Pink Zone game as part of “Breast Cancer Awareness Day,” and all fans who wear pink will get in free. There will also be in-game pink prizes, and a free post-game basketball clinic.
Best Fan Support In C-USA
The Miners pace Conference USA in both overall average attendance (1,785) and league-games only (3,072). UTEP has drawn better than 2,000 fans in five of the past six contests and seven times overall. It played in front of a season-best 4,029 in the triumph against UCF on Jan. 29, with the crowd certainly influencing the outcome of the game.
Looking At A Mirror In Some Ways
In a lot of ways, UTEP and Marshall are very similar. Each team’s leading scorer comes off the bench and both are very deep. Marshall has 12 players earning double figures in playing time while UTEP has 11. The Miners are first in C-USA in rebounding margin, while the Thundering Herd are second. Both teams are led by coaches with 300+ career wins. Each squad yields fewer than 56 points per game, while keeping the opposition to worse than 35.5 percent.
Stats Don’t Lie; UTEP Elite Defensively
Defense has been the calling card for success for the Orange and Blue thus far. UTEP is fourth nationally in field-goal percentage defense (32.6), fifth at guarding the three (23.9), 11th in scoring defense (51.7), 12th in blocked shots per game (6.0), 14th in scoring margin (16.0) and 15th in rebounding margin (9.2).
Talking 20-Win Seasons
This year’s Miners (20-2) are the third team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau. The school standard was set by the 2007-08 team (28-4), with the 2006-07 squad (22-8) checking in second all time.
Putting The Success In Perspective
For the fourth time in the past six seasons, the Miners have posted at least 18 wins. Three of the campaigns featured 20+ wins, including this year’s team at 20-2. Prior to Keitha Adams’ tenure, the Miners only had one season with more than 16 victories, which came when the 1992-93 squad finished at 18-10.
Getting Some Love Nationally
UTEP has gained some more respect nationally this week, grabbing eight votes to place 31st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ top-25 poll while collecting seven votes to check in 35th in the AP.
Third-Best Team In Texas
UTEP is the third-highest rated team in the state of Texas, trailing only top-seed Baylor & #14 Texas A&M.
Off & Running In League Play
The Miners are off to an 9-0 start in league play for the second time in program history. The 2007-08 squad got off to a quick start in conference and never looked back en route to becoming the first women’s school in Conference USA history to run the gauntlet to finish 16-0.