Women’s basketball all in for the win

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Alberto Silva Fernande

Guard Kathia Gallegos calls out a play during practice on Oct. 28.

Emily Autumn Velasquez, Sports Editor

The women’s basketball team has been putting in plenty of work this offseason to prepare for their upcoming season that officially begins Nov. 7 under the guidance of head coach Kevin Baker. 

“We’ve done a lot of things, and it’s really helped us because we are indeed prepared for the season,” said coach Baker in a post-practice interview Oct. 29.  

“I think we need a couple more weeks to fine tune some things and we’ll be ready for our opener.”  

Baker is the eighth head coach in UTEP women’s basketball history as of April 2017. He is the only coach in UTEP history to guide the Miners to have three winning seasons in their first four years, including a pair of 17-win campaigns.  

Last season, Baker successfully guided the Miners to a 17-8 record and led them to the semifinals of the 2021 C-USA Championship. This marked the Miners’ first appearance in the semifinals of the tournament in 5 years.  

Miners point guard Kathia Gallegos was one of the 20-point guards listed as a candidate for the 2022 Nancy Lieberman Award, announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Oct. 25. This is the second year in a row she has made this list.  

Gallegos has also been named to the C-USA preseason team and the Miners were predicted to finish third in the preseason poll, as announced by the league office Oct. 28. This is her second year being selected as a preseason honoree.  

“It means a lot to me that I’m being recognized and especially since a lot of work is put into it, all the way from my teammates to the coaches,” Gallegos said in a post-practice interview Oct. 29. 

“Everybody makes me a better player, and I’m just hoping I’m making them a better player too.” 

Gallegos led the Miners last season in scoring with 13.8 points per game, field goals made with 127, 3-pointers made with 38, defensive rebounds with 92, and minutes played per game with 32.4. Gallegos became the second best in school history with an assist average of 5.0 and became the fourth highest among UTEP sophomores all time with her scoring an average of 13.8 points. 

The Miners have been putting in work since July when their new players arrived. They have some big goals and are looking to do more than they’ve already done. 

“We want to win a championship here. We want to win Conference USA, and we’ve made no bones about that since the day they all got here,” said Baker in an Oct. 29 post-practice interview. “That’s been our goal, and that’s what we’re going to try to do this year.”  

These players are showing a lot of dedication and desire to be the best players they can be in order to compete at the highest level possible. 

“I think that’s going to be a big difference this year, just the fact that we want to be in the gym, we want to practice, we want to do this. And it’s just a want that’s going to get us better,” Gallegos said. 

The women’s basketball team officially kick off their season at 1 p.m., Nov. 7, at the Don Haskins Center against St. Mary’s University. The Miners play their first five games of the season at the Don Haskins Center and are encouraging the people of El Paso to come out and support them. 

Fans can call the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office at (915) 747-UTEP, email [email protected], visit www.UTEPMiners.com/Tickets or stop by in person (Brumbelow Building on UTEP campus, 201 Glory Road) Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

All stats provided with the help of UTEP Athletics. 

Emily Autumn Velasquez is the sports editor at The Prospector and can be reached at [email protected]; @emilyautumn20 on Twitter.