EL PASO, Texas – Coming off a 72-59 win over Western New Mexico in an exhibition on Saturday, UTEP will host New Orleans at 7 p.m. on Monday to officially begin the new season.
 
The Miners had an excellent non-conference performance a season ago, going 8-2, including a perfect 5-0 mark inside the Don Haskins Center.
 
GAME COVERAGE
Fans can watch all the action on CUSA.tv with Mando Medina on the call. Medina will be entering his second season behind the mic and will broadcast all home games that air on CUSA.tv. Live stats will be available on the UTEP SIDEARM Stats Portal.
 
SCOUTING NEW ORLEANS
Four players who started 15 or more games last season are back for the Privateers, including DeArica Pryor, Nahja Scott, Tiana Gipson and Zoe Cooper. Of the group, Pryor was the standout a season ago, averaging 11.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game. In addition to that quartet, Brianna Ellis is expected back after missing much of last year. She averaged 15.5 points per contest over the course of the four games that she saw action in during the 2021-22 campaign. As a team, New Orleans went 5-18 last season with a 3-11 mark in the Southland Conference. In the preseason poll for the league, the Privateers were picked ninth.
 
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NEW ORLEANS
This will be the third time that UTEP has played New Orleans, with each side winning once. The Miners won the first meeting by a 73-66 tally on the road in 1980, with the Privateers coming out on top 78-49 in a neutral site game in Birmingham, Ala. in 1990.
 
UTEP IN OPENERS
The Miners have a record of 28-20 overall in season openers, including a 24-7 mark when the first game is played in El Paso. UTEP is a perfect 5-0 in season openers under Kevin Baker. The program has not lost the first game of the season since falling 65-51 to Northern Arizona on Nov. 11, 2016.
 
STARTING AT HOME
In program history, UTEP is an impressive 34-14 in home openers, including the current streak of five straight wins dating back to the 2017-18 season. The Miners are 12-1 in the last 13 years in home openers.
 
LOOKING BACK AT THE EXHIBITION
UTEP topped Western New Mexico 72-59 in an exhibition on Saturday afternoon. Avery Crouse and Elina Arike had effective games to lead the Miners, with Crouse pouring in a team-high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and Arike adding 12 points on a 4-of-7 effort with three blocks. Defensively, the Miners drew seven charges and forced 14 Western New Mexico turnovers over the first 20 minutes. Towards the end of the third quarter, a 14-2 run would swing the game more firmly into control for UTEP, which built the lead up to 13 in the final 10 minutes.
 
DEFENSE LEADS TO OFFENSE
The Miners turned 21 Western New Mexico turnovers into 27 points in the exhibition on Saturday, applying pressure throughout the game.
 
FRESHMAN IMPACT
Despite being the lone freshman on the roster, Soleil Montrose earned a spot in the starting five for the Miners in the exhibition win against Western New Mexico. The product of Mater Dei HS in California scored eight points with four rebounds while also picking up a steal on the defensive side of the floor. 
 
TRIO OF TRIPLES FOR GRACE
Grace Alvarez drained three 3-pointers in a row late in the first half against Western New Mexico to give the Miners the lead heading into the locker room. Alvarez is a dangerous option for the Miners from the perimeter who is entering her sophomore season. 
 
LOOKING TO GET TO THE STRIPE
Last season, UTEP made 430 free throws, ranking second in the conference and 41st in the country. Expect the Miners to once again get to the line plenty, with multiple driving options throughout the roster who will be aggressive in getting to the basket.
 
NON-CONFERENCE AT HOME
The Miners have won seven consectutive non-conference home games in the Don Haskins Center dating back to a 58-51 loss to Tulsa on Dec. 29, 2019.
 
TWO STARTERS RETURN
Key contributors Avery Crouse and Elina Arike are back for UTEP this season after combining to start 52 games last year. Crouse is one of the unquestioned leaders on the team and averaged 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game in her third season with the program. She will look to bring versatility to the lineup with the ability to play three positions. Arike is a talented interior player who ranked third on the team with 8.8 points per game last season while leading the Miners with 6.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, Mahri PetreeEliana Cabral and Erin Wilson all return after starting games at various points last season.
 
EIGHT FRESH FACES
As is the case throughout the country, the Miners will have a largely new-look team when the program takes the floor this season. A total of eight new players have joined UTEP, including four Division I transfers in Jazion Jackson (North Texas), N’Yah Boyd (Oklahoma State), Sabine Lipe (Northern Colorado) and Thaniya Marks (Georgia Southern). Other transfers include Veonce Powell (Tyler JC), Zhane Thompson (Seward County CC) and Adela Valkova (Weatherford College). Soleil Montrose (Mater Dei HS) is the lone new addition from the high school ranks after helping lead the Monarchs to multiple postseason appearances during her prep career.
 
PROTECTING THE HOME FLOOR
UTEP has recorded three consecutive winning seasons at home, including a 10-4 mark last season. During that stretch, the Miners are 32-12 inside the Don Haskins Center. 
 
UTEP DOUBLEHEADER UPCOMING
Fans can support two Miner teams on Nov. 19 when UTEP football hosts FIU at 2 p.m. and women’s basketball takes on Texas State at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting UTEPMiners.com/tickets.
 
BAKER FIVE AWAY FROM 200
Kevin Baker has 195 wins between his time at UT Tyler, Angelo State and UTEP. With the Miners, Baker has compiled 73 wins over the course of his first five seasons on the sideline.
 
THE NON-CONFERENCE SLATE
The Miners are set to play nine non-conference games prior to settling in for C-USA action. Four games will take place at home, three on the road and two at a neutral site when UTEP heads to California to compete in The Holiday Beach Classic. Inside the Don, UTEP will welcome New Orleans (Nov. 7), Texas Southern (Nov. 16), Texas State (Nov. 19) and NM State (Nov. 30).
 
C-USA PRESEASON POLL
UTEP was picked eighth in the C-USA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, however the Miners have the talent to compete against anyone in the league on a nightly basis. Last season, UTEP downed Middle Tennessee, which enters this year as the preseason favorite after receiving nine first-place votes in the poll. LA Tech followed in second and Charlotte was selected third with the other two first-place votes. 
 
BROADCAST INFORMATION ANNOUNCED
The broadcast information for 25 of the 29 games this season has been released. Currently, the Miners are slated to appear on CUSA.tv 17 times and ESPN+ on seven occasions. When UTEP travels to Kansas City on Nov. 13, the game will be on the Summit League Digital Network. Broadcast information has yet to be released for the neutral site games against San Jose State (Nov. 25) and Sacramento State (Nov. 26) in California and the road games against Air Force (Dec. 4) and UTSA (Jan. 11).
 
WHAT’S NEXT
UTEP departs on a road trip for the first time this season, heading to Kansas City for a game next Sunday at noon MT/1 p.m. CT. This will be the fourth meeting between the two programs and the second time the sides have played in Kansas City.
 
HOME TICKET INFO
Tickets start at $8 for regular season games while groups of 10 can purchase tickets for $5 a piece. Fans can buy single-game tickets and season tickets (starting as low as $65) for the new campaign at the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office by calling (915) 747-UTEP, visiting UTEPMiners.com/tickets, by emailing tickets@utep.edu, or by stopping by in person at 500 W. University Ave., 79968 (Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).