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Keitha Adams led Miners to dominate season opener victory over WNMU Mustangs

Annabella Mireles
Guard Veonce Powell dribbles past Western New Mexico Nov. 6.

The UTEP women’s basketball team returned to the Don Haskins Center for its first regular season game of the season.  

After a dominate exhibition win over New Mexico Highlands University Saturday, Oct. 28, the Miners hope to extend the team’s momentum against the Western New Mexico University Mustangs (WNMU).  

UTEP faced WNMU in a preseason game last season under Kevin Baker, the Miners’ former head coach. There, the Miners defeated the Mustangs 72-59.  

Head Coach Keitha Adams, returns to the Miners after several seasons with the Wichita State Shockers, detailed her keys to success following the exhibition game.  

“We are a work in progress,” Adams said. “We are going to have to be a lot better defensively, and our rebounding has to be way better.”  

The return of Adams brought several El Paso natives back to the Don like El Paso Athletics Hall of Famer and Jefferson High School graduate Evwella Munn. 

“I’m here to watch Coach Adams and her coming back to El Paso,” Munn said. “We want her to be as successful as she was when she was here the first time. We are just here to see what she brings back.” 

First Half  

Adams’ starting five was comprised of senior guard Mahri Petree, senior guard Erin Wilson, junior guard Delma Zita, freshman forward Luisa Vydrova and junior forward Adhel Tac. 

The Miners would go on a 9-1 run to start the game only allowing the Mustangs to score off a single free throw. UTEP would continue to apply pressure forcing WNMU to call a timeout with just over seven minutes left in the first. 

In the latter half of the first quarter, the Miners seemed to plateau allowing the Mustangs to go on an 11-7 run to end the first quarter. The most notable play in this stretch was a three-point play from sophomore guard Veonce Powell with 1:33 left in the first quarter. 

UTEP led at the end of the first quarter with a score of 16-12. 

Powell would get the first points of the second quarter for the Miners, off a driving layup with the shot clock winding down. 

This would give the Miners the upper hand as the team would go on to a 7-0 tear leading up to the halfway point of the second quarter. 

Following a timeout, the Mustangs answered with five points closing in on the Miners lead with 2:47 left in the half. WNMU would close out the half with a three-point play from junior guard Silvia Blanco. 

This push would not be enough to close out the half as the Miners headed to the locker room with an eight-point lead. 

The leading scorer for the Miners in the first half was freshman Vydrova with seven points. The Mustangs top scorer was Blanco with five points. 

The Miners were outscored in the second half of the second quarter 8-6 yet maintained a 29-21 lead at the end of the first half. 

Second Half  

The Miners started the second half hot and scored nine points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. The Mustangs would manage to put up four points in the same span before calling a timeout. 

UTEP would continue to pour onto its lead as Petree was playing to midseason form scoring 12 points to finish the third quarter. UTEP added 22 points to its score extending the lead to 18. 

WNMU struggled to put up much with only 13 points scored, five of which came from senior guard Sydney Wright. 

Halfway through the final quarter, the Mustangs managed to outscore the Miners 14-11 thanks to several key plays which included two three-point play by Blanco and freshman guard Joslyn Montez. 

The Miners finished the game with a final score of 75-58. 

Four Miners finished with double digit points to finish the game. Petree lead the Miners with 16 points, Wilson trailed with 14, Vydrova scored 13 and Tac had 10 points. 

“The two take-aways are; we have to get a sense of urgency about rebounding, boxing out, and being physical, and we have to make our free throws every day,” Head Coach Keitha Adams said. “I thought Mahri (Petree) gave us a real good spark and made some big plays.” 

The women’s team now await the Kansas City Roos this Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram. 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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