UTEP To Meet Rice in Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament
The UTEP women’s basketball team will square off against Rice in the opening-round of the 2010 Conference USA Championships (as hosted by the University of Tulsa) at 7:30 p.m. MT at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Monday, March 8.
The Miners (15-15, 6-10 C-USA) will be the No. 10 seed, and will face off against the seventh-seeded Owls (13-16, 7-9 C-USA) in the final game of the first day of action. The victor will take on No. 2 Houston (16-13, 10-6 C-USA) in the C-USA Quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. MT on Tuesday, March 9.
UTEP went 1-1 against Rice on the year, with both squads successfully defending their home court. The Miners won the initial meeting of the year, 74-64, in the C-USA opener for each on Jan. 8. The game was tied at 49 with 9:31 to play after a 9-0 run by the Owls, but the Miners countered with an 11-1 surge over the next four minutes to take control for good. Jareica Hughes and Dietra Caldwell led the way with 22 and 20 points, respectively.
It was a different story in the most-recent match-up, with Rice dispatching a short-handed Miners’ squad, 74-53, on Feb. 27. Hughes and Caldwell missed the game with injuries, and UTEP’s offense never could get on track. Baiba Eglite tallied a career-high 15 points and Briana Green added 13 but it wasn’t enough. Timika Williams had a season-best 12 boards and UTEP out-rebounded the Owls by one (37-36). The Miners had been 10-1 on the year when winning the battle of the boards but Rice made that department a moot point by being a bit crisper at both ends of the court.
Monday’s match-up will mark the third time that UTEP and Rice will have been pitted against each other in the past four years at the C-USA Championships. Additionally, it will be the fourth time in five C-USA tourney showings that UTEP will have faced one of the Houston-based league schools (Houston & Rice) in its first game at the event.
The Owls ended the Miners’ 2006-07 season with a 56-46 win on March 2, 2007. Defense dominated the game, with UTEP (17-of-54; 31.5) and Rice (16-of-55; 29.1) both struggling from the floor. The difference proved to be free throws, with the Owls going 22-of-28 at the charity stripe compared to the Miners’ effort of 7-of-9.
UTEP returned the favor of bringing a season to a close during the historic 2007-08 campaign, toppling Rice, 80-71, on March 7, 2008. The then No. 18/24 Miners used a 30-10 run in the second half to erase a six-point halftime deficit. Jareica Hughes led the way with a UTEP postseason record and career-high 33 points.
The Miners are 4-8 all time in conference tournaments during the Keitha Adams era (including years with WAC), but they are 3-3 in the past three years. UTEP mustered a mark of 3-11 in conference tournament action prior to Adams’ arrival in the Sun City, and never advanced past the quarterfinals in nine tries.
2010 Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships Schedule
Monday, March 8, 2010 (First-Round Games)
No. 8 UCF vs. No. 9 Marshall- 11 a.m. MT (game 1)
No. 5 East Carolina vs. No. 12 Southern Miss- 1:30 p.m. MT (game 2)
No. 6 UAB vs. No. 11 Tulsa- 5 p.m. MT (game 3)
No. 7 Rice. vs. No. 10 UTEP- 7:30 p.m. MT. (game 4)
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 (Quarterfinal Games)
No. 1 Tulane vs. UCF/Marshall - 11 a.m. MT (game 5)
No. 4 Memphis vs. ECU/USM- 1:30 p.m. MT (game 6)
No. 3 SMU vs. UAB/Tulsa- 5 p.m. MT (game 7)
No. 2 Houston vs. UTEP/Rice- 7:30 p.m. MT (game 8)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 (Semifinal Games)
Winner game 5 vs. Winner game 6.- 4 p.m. MT (game 9)
Winner game 7 vs. Winner game 8- 6:30 p.m. MT (game 10)
Friday, March 12, 2010 (Championship Game)
Winner game 9 vs. Winner game 10.- 11:30 a.m. MT (game 11)