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Seeking to bounce back

UTEP%2C+along+with+Southern+Mississippi+and+UTSA%2C+are+three+of+the+seven+schools+with+a+2-2+record+in+Conference+USA.
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UTEP, along with Southern Mississippi and UTSA, are three of the seven schools with a 2-2 record in Conference USA.

After a 13-2 start this season, the UTEP women’s basketball team lost two straight contests. First, at the hands of Middle Tennessee State on the road on Jan. 15 and to Charlotte on Jan. 18 at the Don Haskins.

On Jan. 15, the Miners took on preseason favorites Middle Tennessee in a tough environment and came out with a 69-58 final score.

They lost in a shootout on Jan. 18, where the Miners scored 86 points, but still lost the game. This is the fourth game in head coach Keitha Adams’ era in which the Miners scored 80 points or more and still failed to come away with the victory. They are now 61-4 in these scenarios.

Now seeking to recover their early form, the Miners will face the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Jan. 22 and will then go east on the road to face the UTSA Roadrunners Jan. 25.

After their losing stretch, the Miners now have a chance to dig deep and show that they can handle adversity, pressure and a way to get out of unfamiliar territory.

The Miners’ first foe this week is the Golden Eagles.

The Miners are at the top of the conference in points per game. The Golden Eagles are third.

“If we let the other team score 90-something points, we’re probably going to get our tails kicked,” Adams said. “So we’re going to have to figure out a way to play some defense and guard somebody.”

Both schools are equal in scoring defense, at allowing their opponents to score just under 66 points per game. The defensive hold and rebounding is what will win the game, since it’s expected that both teams will score plenty of points on the offensive end.

Sophomore guard Jenzel Nash acknowledged that defensive intensity will be needed in this bout versus the Golden Eagles.

“They are a really good team that can score a lot of points if we don’t improve on defense,” Nash said.

The Miners are first in offensive rebounds, while the Golden Eagles lead in defensive rebounding.

The game has important implications for both teams as they are two of the seven teams with a 2-2 record in Conference USA.

After their game against the Golden Eagles, the Miners will go to San Antonio to face the Roadrunners.

The Roadrunners are coming off of a buzzer-beating 3-point bank shot win against North Texas on Jan. 8. They began conference play with two straight losses to Tulsa and Southern Mississippi. They are now riding a two-game conference-winning streak after beating Charlotte and North Texas. They will face Middle Tennessee before facing UTEP.

The Roadrunners are 7-2 at home. Junior guard Kamra King has led the team in scoring in 10 of their 17 games so far.

UTSA is near the bottom of most defensive statistical categories in the conference while UTEP is on top of most offensive categories such as points per game and rebounds.

“Everybody we play is good and we just have to pick it up from here. Focus, defense is our main thing,” said junior forward Kristine Vitola.

After the Jan. 18 home loss to Charlotte, Adams stated that she was unhappy with the lack of defense and the composure of her team. She said they would work a lot more on defense in their practices.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luis Barrio
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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