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Miners face Aggies for first real test of season

Aaron Montes / The Prospector
Senior Kayla Thornton with a layup against the Texas Permain Basin Falcons. She contributed with nine points in the season opener.

The next chapter in the Battle of I-10 for UTEP’s women’s basketball takes place on Nov. 12 at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners will collide with the New Mexico State Aggies, which will give fans a good understanding of where both teams stand early on in the season.

“They’re very athletic. They like to go up and down, they are a team that uses the screens very well and they always play really hard,” said head coach Keitha Adams. “They are highly competitive games and we are looking forward to it.”

The Miners come into the game after a 75-58 trampling of the Texas Permian Basin Falcons.

The Aggies come in leading the all-time series at 47-33, but the Miners are 23-17 at home against them. The two teams split a game apiece last season with the Miners falling 68-69 at the Pan-American Center and then winning with ease back at the Don Haskins Center.

This game will be the season opener for the Aggies. What better way to open the season than against the team you wish to beat the most. This matchup will mark the 81st clash between the two programs since the women’s basketball program began in 1974.

Junior guard Chrishuana Parker, who had a double-double coming off the bench with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the first game, is solely focused on beating the Aggies, whether she plays as a starter or comes in from the bench.

“I’m going to come in and give it everything I got every game. I’ll get rebounds. I’ll do everything for my team. They deserve nothing less,” Parker said. “Against the Aggies, we have to come out to do what coach (Adams) prepared us to do. We have to play defense and execute our offense. We have to rebound the ball and take care of it.”  Parker also said that the key is to rebound and only allow one shot on each of the Aggies’ possessions.

The Miners are in the midst of a six game home stand, the second largest in program history.

The Miners are 14-10 against the Aggies under Keitha Adams’ watch. She is the only coach to have a winning record in the Battle of I-10. The Miners are 9-3 at home under Adams and 5-7 on the road. Since the 2011-2012 season, the Miners have a 12-1 record in the month of November and 39-22 all time in the month of November under Adams.

The Aggies are an extremely young squad. They bring in eight newcomers, but are still picked to finish third in the Western Athletic Conference. They have no seniors on the team and Miners’ junior transfer Stacie Telles knows this is a great advantage and as a local girl, she really wants to beat New Mexico State.

“We have seniors like Kayla (Thornton) and Kelly (Willingham), who help lead this team. So anytime you have seniors, it’s to your advantage and I think we have a step up on them,” Telles said. “Me being from El Paso, I’ve always cheered for UTEP. I can’t stand NMSU.”

Last Friday against the Falcons, the Miners had 20 turnovers and put the Falcons in the bonus all throughout the game.

“We need to have fewer turnovers and play better defense,” Telles said. “We need to try and not have as many fouls. On offense we need to be a little bit more patient and move the ball around.”

Telles had a good first outing in her first regular-season game with the Miners as she led in minutes played and added 12 points and made all three of her shots beyond the arc.

Head coach Keitha Adams said that the blueprint to beating the Aggies is limiting their dribble penetration and kick-out to the open shooter.

Although the Aggies are young, Adams emphasized the preparation that goes into each game.

“This is a big week for us, traditionally the games against the Aggies have been great games. Half of the games we played against them in the past 12 years have been decided by seven points or less,” Adams said. “I treat every game like it’s our biggest, this week we really have a lot to work on. It’s going to be a big week for us.”

The next game between the Miners and Aggies will come down the road on Dec. 3 when the Miners travel up I-10 to the Pan American Center for the second match-up.

After hosting the Aggies, the Miners will face the Kansas State Wildcats on at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Don Haskins Center.

Luis Barrio may be reached at the [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter
Luis Barrio is a staff reporter specializing in Sports. He is also the co-host of the Prospector News Weekly, a weekly broadcast that covers all of the top stories at UTEP. He is a Senior graduating in December 2014. Luis is a product of El Paso, TX. He enjoys being outdoors and being physically active. His family comes before anything else. He is a big sports enthusiast and a fan of good movies. Luis spent the summer of 2013 interning for ABC-7 KVIA. Upon graduation Luis aspires to work for CBS as a sports broadcaster. “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever a having felt sorry for itself.” D.H. Lawrence
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Miners face Aggies for first real test of season