EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UTEP women’s basketball officially began preseason practices last weekend, with its season opener vs. Incarnate Word on Nov. 11 just 42 days away.
The Miners will open the 2021-22 season with quite a few new faces. Just six players return from last year’s team that made the Conference USA Tournament semifinals, though starters Katia Gallegos, Avery Crouse and Destiny Thurman are three of them. In the offseason, the Miners added seven newcomers.
The revamped roster doesn’t mean expectations are any lower in year five under head coach Kevin baker. This is still a Miners team that could compete for a spot at the top of the league.
Stars Gallegos (13.8 ppg, 5 assists, 4.5 rebounds), Thurman (9.1 ppg) and Crouse (7.9 ppg) are three of the players that do return for the Miners and are taking on increased leadership duties.
“I’m still young and some players are older than me but it feels good because I understand things a lot better at practice and I can help the newcomers out,” said Gallegos.
Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Teal Battle is one of the newcomers that has Baker confident. There is talent available; UTEP just has to put it all together.
We’ve got a ton of talent and when you have a ton of talent, sometimes getting on the same page is a little bit easier,” said Baker. “New faces always bring new challenges but it’s been fun so far.”
“It was not what I expected the first couple of days just being together, but after the first few days, we’ve gelled really well,” said Battle.
UTEP will play St. Mary’s in an exhibition game on Nov. 7, before the official season opener vs. Incarnate Word on Nov. 11. Both games will be played at the Don Haskins Center.