UTEP Women's Basketball Team Will Face SMU in First Round of C-USA Tournament


POSTED: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 4:11pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 9:41pm

The UTEP women’s basketball team will renew its rivalry with SMU in the opening-round of the 2011 Buick Conference USA Championships at 7:30 p.m. MST inside historic Memorial Gym on Wednesday. The Miners (15-13, 7-9 C-USA) are seeded ninth. They will be facing the No. 8 seed Mustangs (14-15, 7-9 C-USA) for the second time in the past week-and-a half and third occasion overall on the year.

The victor will take on top-seed and No. 24 Houston (25-4, 16-0 C-USA) in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. MST Thursday. UCF (19-10, 12-4), Rice (18-12, 10-6) and Tulane (20-9, 9-7) also earned first-round byes. Other opening-round match-up include fifth seed East Carolina (15-14, 9-7) against 12th seed Tulsa (5-19, 1-15), sixth-seed Memphis (19-11, 8-8) vs. 11th seed Southern Miss (10-19, 5-11) and seventh seed UAB (15-14, 7-9) against 10th seed Marshall (9-20, 5-11).

The Miners are 66-16 in El Paso since the start of the 2006-07 season, including 12-5 this year. It marked the school-record fourth straight year with 12 or more home triumphs.

“We’re very excited about the C-USA tournament being played here at UTEP,” Miners’ head coach Keitha Adams said. “SMU has a very good team. It has a balanced attack with strong guard and post play. We had two exciting games against them, which they won. We understand we will have to play extremely well. I encourage UTEP fans to be a part of the tournament and to help us out!”

Wednesday’s game against the Mustangs will mark the 33rd between the two programs, with SMU holding an advantage of 23-9. Overall SMU has claimed eight of the past 11 match-ups, including both during the 2010-11 regular season. In the first match-up UTEP roared back from 18 down midway through the second half to take a lead but the Mustangs ultimately prevailed, 81-79, in Dallas on Jan. 23. SMU snuck past the Orange and Blue, 70-64, to spoil UTEP’s “Senior Day” on Feb. 27.

The Miners went 2-1 down the stretch to pick up some momentum for the tournament. UTEP is already ensured of its program-best fifth straight season with a winning percentage of .500 or better and sixth overall during the 10 years of the Adams era.

UTEP stands at 8-20 all time in league tournaments, and is still in search for its first title. The Miners have only advanced beyond the quarterfinals once, which came when the 2007-08 squad made the run to the championship contest.

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. The Miners have shown signs of life at the event during her tenure with a record of 5-9, including 4-4 over the past four years.

All-session ticket passes to the tournament may be purchased for as low as $80, which will afford fans entry to 22 total games (men's & women's). Please call (915) 747-6150 for all ticket orders and inquiries.

FIRST ROUNDS – Wednesday, March 9
Morning Session
Game 1: (7) UAB vs. (10) Marshall 12 p.m.
Game 2: (6) Memphis vs. (11) Southern Miss 2:30 p.m.

Afternoon Session
Game 3: (5) East Carolina vs. (12) Tulsa 5 p.m.
Game 4: (8) SMU vs. (9) UTEP 7:30 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS – Thursday, March 10
Morning Session
Game 5: (2) UCF vs. winner Game 1 12 p.m.
Game 6: (3) Rice vs. winner Game 2 2:30 p.m.

Afternoon Session
Game 7: (4) Tulane vs. winner Game 3 5 p.m.
Game 8: (1) Houston vs. winner Game 4 7:30 p.m.

SEMIFINALS – Friday, March 11
Game 9: Game 5 & 6 winners (CBS Sports) 9 a.m.
Game 10: Game 7 & 8 winners (CBS Sports) 11:30 a.m.

Game 11: Game 9 & 10 winners (CBS Sports) 6 p.m.

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