Aggies and Miners Renew I-10 Rivalry Tuesday Night
The New Mexico State women's basketball team (1-5) wraps up the SONIC® America's Drive-In® Battle of I-10 against rival UTEP (5-0) Tuesday night at 7 p.m. inside the Don Haskins Center. The Aggies will look to avenge a 76-72 overtime loss to the undefeated Miners two weeks ago in Las Cruces.
The game is the third contest in four days for the Aggies. NM State dropped a pair of games last weekend in its Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. The Aggies lost to North Dakota 63-46 on Saturday before Southern Utah edged the Crimson and White at the buzzer Sunday, 58-57.
The overtime win over the Aggies on Nov. 16 is the only hard-fought victory on UTEP's record so far this season. The Miners defeated their other four opponents all by double digits this season, all in the Haskins Center. UTEP blew out Denver 80-49 on Saturday to give head coach Keitha Adams her best start as Miner head coach.
The game will be broadcast live on the Aggie Sports Network with Kyle Doperalski, heard locally on KSNM 570 AM. Live updates via Twitter are available by following @NMStateAggies. Live stats links can be found at NMStateSports.com.
SONIC® ® America's Drive-In® Battle of I-10
The Aggies-Miners battle is the 78th contest all-time between the programs and the second basketball game this season to bear the name of the I-10 Rivalry's new title sponsor, SONIC® America's Drive-In® The two-year partnership struck last year between the neighboring universities and SONIC Drive-Ins in El Paso and Las Cruces encompasses matchups in football, men's basketball and women's basketball.
Aggies and Miners Continue Longest Series in School History
NM State's ongoing series with UTEP is the most historic of any series in program history. Tuesday's meeting with the Miners will be the 78th game between the two schools with the Aggies leading the series 46-31.
UTEP's 76-72 overtime win on Nov. 16 in Las Cruces was the second game in the last three of the series to go into extra time, but just the fifth all-time. UTEP claims a 4-1 advantage in overtime games all-time. The Aggies lone OT win came last year in El Paso, 80-75.
Last year the teams split the season series as each team won on the opposing team's court. UTEP opened 2011 by defeating the Aggies 74-67 on Jan. 2 inside the Pan Am in the latest battle snapping a four-game Aggie win streak in the series. Last November, NM State knocked off the Miners in overtime in El Paso, 80-75. The win marked the first time NM State recorded four consecutive wins in the series since 2002-03 when they also strung together four victories.
In 2010, the Aggies swept the Miners for the first time since the 2002-03 season. In 2008-09, NM State snapped a seven-game losing streak to UTEP with a 77-67 victory at home. UTEP has won 14 of the past 23 battles dating back to 2000.
The Miners and Aggies have met twice yearly in the past 37 years of NM State women's basketball program history. In addition to their contest two weeks ago, the border rivals met an additional time on two occasions: in the regular seasons of 1974-75 as well as the 1984-85 L'eggs Classic to account for the previous 77 meetings.
Scouting the Miners
The UTEP Miners (5-0), of Conference USA, are undefeated this season with a 4-0 record at home in El Paso. The Miners' lone road contest was a 76-72 overtime victory in Las Cruces Nov. 16. The Miners are one of 31 undefeated teams in Division I women's basketball.
The Miners rank among the top 50 nationally in five statistical categories. UTEP is No. 18 nationally in 3-point FG defense, allowing just 21.1 percent. The Miners rank No. 24 in the country with six blocked shots per game. In overall FG defense, UTEP rates No. 35 in the nation at 32.8 percent. The Miners also rate nationally in scoring margin (No. 37 - 18.2) and scoring offense (No. 40 - 75.8).
Senior forward Gloria Brown's 3.8 swats per game rank No. 7 nationally. Brown also rates No. 12 nationally in FG percentage at 62.8. Brown is just shy of averaging a double-double, leading UTEP with 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
Three Miners have started each game this year, yet Brown is not one of them. The three UTEP players with five starts include sophomore forward Kayla Thornton who is second on the team with 9.2 ppg, junior forward Kristine Vitola at 8.0 ppg and junior guard Melisa Mendes at 7.4 ppg.