POSTED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 10:12pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 10:13pm
El Paso, TX — UTEP embarks on its 40th season of women’s basketball when it plays host to UTPB at 7 p.m. MST at the Don Haskins Center Friday.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and there will be three raffle ticket giveaways at halftime. Other giveaways include three-point Miner Cards, slap bracelets, 2013-14 schedule posters & flip cards. Audio & video of the contest will be available through subscription-based Miner TV on UTEPAthletics.com.
The game will mark the start of a season-opening six-contest homestand, with the Miners also set to face NM State (7:05 p.m., Nov. 12), Kansas State (2 p.m. Nov. 16), Northern Arizona (7:05 p.m., Nov. 22), Northern Colorado (7:05 p.m., Nov. 27) and Texas State (7:05 p.m., Nov. 30).
“We are excited to get the season started,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “Friday night will be a big night for us. We look forward to getting things going.”
The Miners tuned up for the lid lifter by thrashing St. Mary’s, 81-51, in their lone exhibition tilt of the preseason on Nov. 2. Senior Kayla Thornton led the way with 22 points while sophomore Cameasha Turner (11 points), senior Kelli Willingham (10 points) and Jenzel Nash (10 points) joined her in double figures. Senior Kristine Vitola flirted with a double-double (nine points, nine rebounds), and Thornton was second on the squad in boards (five).
UTEP is 20-19 all time in season openers, including 7-5 under Adams. The Miners, coming off their fourth 20+ win season in the past seven years, will be looking to mirror past teams with a quick start out of the gates. UTEP is 15-3 in the month of November since 2010, and it stands 38-22 all time in the month during the Adams era.
Four starters and seven letterwinners return from the 2012-13 squad, including Nash and Vitola being back on the court after taking a redshirt due to torn ACLs. UTEP also added seven newcomers to the mix, with each of them earning playing time in the exhibition victory against the Rattlers.
UTPB, which competes at the NCAA Division II level, went 21-8 last year and claimed the 2013 Heartland Conference regular-season crown with a record of 11-1. The Falcons earned an at-large bid into the NCAA South Central Regional and picked up the program’s first tournament victory by bouncing Abilene Christian, 70-68.
It was predicted to finish second in the league in 2013-14 but will have to do so without the services of 2013 Heartland Conference Player of the Year Teisha King & first-team All-Heartland Conference honoree Tanique Ards. UTPB, just like UTEP, has seven newcomers in the mix.
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