UTEP Head Coach on live to talk about NIT Championship vs Rutgers
El Paso, TX — The 2014 Postseason WNIT championship game is set as UTEP (29-7) hosts Rutgers (27-9) on Saturday, April 5 at 3 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. MT at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The game will be nationally televised live in HD on CBS Sports Network.
The broadcast team includes Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and legendary coach Ceal Barry (analyst). Anderson has worked as a play-by-play announcer for 19 years in basketball, baseball, softball, and football. Barry served as Head Coach at the University of Colorado for 22 years where she compiled a 427-242 record, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including six times in the Sweet 16 and three times in the Elite Eight, 13 20-win seasons, four conference championships, and assorted coach of the year honors.
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-The championship game sold out in less than two hours following UTEP’s victory over South Dakota State in the Semifinals. It was the fastest sell-out in WNIT Tournament history, faster than New Mexico in 2001 and Wyoming in 2007. The Lobos sold out The Pitt (18,018) in five hours. Wyoming sold out Arena-Auditorium (15,462) in eight hours.
-The championship contest will mark the fourth straight tilt that UTEP has equaled or set the school’s attendance record. The Miners attracted 8,234 fans in a Round-Three win vs. Colorado (68-60, 3/28/14) before drawing 10,227 in the Quarterfinal triumph against Washington (70-63, 3/31/14). The prior school attendance standard was 7,255 against SMU on Feb. 28, 2008.
- The home match-up for UTEP was possible due to the decision by the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope to move its previously-scheduled event to another location on campus.
-The sell-out crowd of 12,222 will be the seventh largest championship game in WNIT history. UTEP has sold out back-to-back games, which is only the second time this has occurred in tournament history (Toledo in 2011).
-Rutgers enters the game coming off a 62-52 win over South Florida in the Semifinals played in Tampa. The Scarlet Knights improved to 27-9 on the season, which is the most wins since 2007-08 when RU finished the year at 27-7 and played in the NCAA Elite Eight. Rutgers is playing in the Postseason WNIT for the first time in program history holding a 5-0 record and 109-63 all-time in postseason contests.
-Rutgers improved to 10-4 in road games in 2013-14 with its win over South Florida. RU is also 21-2 this season when going into halftime with the lead.
-UTEP is 21-2 all-time, including 19-1 under Keitha Adams, in home games with 4,000+ fans.
-UTEP becomes the second C-USA team to advance to the WNIT championship game (Houston in 2002). The Miners are also playing in the tournament for the first time in program history and carry a 5-0 record. UTEP has led in attendance in all five rounds and has set a program-best five straight games with +4,500 fans.
-Five teams from mid-major conferences have won the WNIT since its inception in 1998: Drexel (2013), Toledo (2011), Wyoming (2007), Missouri State (2005), and Creighton (2004).
-Of the 64 teams selected in this year’s WNIT, 35 teams had recorded 20 or more wins on the season. This was one team shy of tying the all-time WNIT record.
-This year’s field tied the WNIT record for most schools that were crowned regular-season champions in their respected conferences (10 teams): High Point (Big South), Iona (Metro Atlantic), Navy (Patriot), Lamar (Southland), Indiana State (MVC), Colorado State (MWC), Arkansas State (Sun Belt), Green Bay (Horizon), South Dakota State (Summit), and Bowling Green (MAC). SDSU and BGSU made it to the Quarterfinal round of eight teams.
-C-USA led all conferences with six teams selected in this year’s WNIT field. The AAC had three schools selected including two that made it to the Semifinal round (South Florida and Rutgers). The AAC had one or more teams represented in each of the four major postseason tournament Final Fours: UCONN (men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament), SMU (men’s NIT), South Florida and Rutgers (Women’s NIT).
-Marquette’s Katherine Plouffe broke the WNIT record for most rebounds in a game against Indiana State in Round One with 26. The previous record was held by Sophia Young of Baylor with 25 in 2003. Plouffe also broke the record for most defensive rebounds in a game with 20. This mark surpassed Colorado’s Chucky Jeffery who recorded 16 in 2012.
-Jamierra Faulkner of Southern Miss tied the record for most assists in a game with 13 against Lamar in Round One. She joins three other players: Ariana Elegado - Cal Poly (2012), Kelsey Corbin - Ball State (2007), and Dee Dee Pate - Wisconsin (1999).