El Paso, TX — Tickets for the UTEP women’s basketball team’s (26-7) WNIT Sweet 16 game against Colorado (19-14) at 7 p.m. Friday) are now on sale. The price is only $6 for a general admission and $4 for UTEP students. Call (915) 747-5234 for complete ticket information.
The Miners are making their first appearance in the WNIT a special one, having dispatched Sun Belt Conference Champion Arkansas State, 74-64, in the opening round on March 21 before punching their ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 76-64 victory against top-50 RPI opponent Saint Mary’s on March 24.
A big factor in the wins was the support of El Paso, with the Miners drawing better than 4,500 fans in back-to-back contests to lead the WNIT in attendance. That is a fact not lost on UTEP head coach and 2014 El Paso Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Keitha Adams.
“I’m loving the energy we had in ‘The Don’ Monday night, and I want to say thank you, El Paso,” Adams said. “Let’s go Miner fans and come be a part of something special in the Sweet 16 vs. Colorado. Let’s have a full house (12,222) and show the country what we have going on Friday night!”
Three-time All C-USA performer and senior Kayla Thornton (22.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg in WNIT) scored a UTEP postseason record 28 points in the win against A-State while junior Chrishauna Parker (12.0 ppg, 11.5 in WNIT) has become the first Miner in school history to record back-to-back doubles in the postseason.
Senior Kristine Vitola is also pitching in double figures for scoring (10.5) in the two WNIT victories and Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year Jenzel Nash is living up to that billing with 8.5 ppg in the WNIT.
The run in the WNIT continues what has been a record-setting 2013-14 season. Friday’s match-up against Colorado will mark the single-campaign school standard 34th game on the year. Other single-season records to fall this year include double-digit wins (21), field-goals made (881) and attempted (2124), free-throws made (604) and attempted (846), home games (21) and home wins (20), postseason wins (two), scoring offense (77.8), three-pointers made (tied, 201) and attempted (627).
Overall UTEP’s 26 wins rank third on the single-season charts, trailing only the 2011-12 (29-4) and 2007-08 (28-4) squads. In order to keep things going, though, the Miners will be in need of a big and rowdy crowd on Friday. The Buffaloes returned four starters and nine letterwinners from its 2012-13 squad that finished No. 19 in the country and competed in the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado rolled through non-conference play with a mark of 13-2 but was unable to keep the momentum going once Pacific-12 play commenced. That record, though, was more indicative of the strength of the Pac-12 than an indictment of the Buffaloes.
Five Pac-12 teams received bids to the NCAA Tournament (its most since 2006) while four others, including CU, were invited to the WNIT. In spite of the high caliber of league, the Buffaloes were competitive throughout. Five of their 12 setbacks were by single digits and the most lopsided affair was a 12-point loss at Oregon State (2/8/14).
CU is led by Pac-12 honorable-mention performer Arielle Robertson, who paces CU is in both scoring (12.3) and rebounding (8.3). Brittany Wilson joins her in double figures for scoring (10.9) while four other players contribute at least 7.0 points per game.