Future Looks Bright for Kevin Baker and UTEP Women
The UTEP women's basketball season came to and yesterday in Frisco, Texas after UAB survived a scare to defeat the Miners 75-66 in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament. Despite the loss, head coach Kevin Baker knows that his team is poised for big things in the seasons to come. Replacing Tamara Seda will be tough, since the lone senior will be remembered as one of the best post players in the history of the program. However, Baker knows that his returning players and new recruits have a chance to build on the 17 wins they piled up in his first season with the Miners.
UTEP will need more depth at the point guard position, but sophomore Faith Cook took a big step and became a offensive threat for the Miners. Her lack of size makes it difficult at times on the defensive end, but Cook is one player that can be a big piece of the puzzle for the next two seasons. Freshman Jordan Jenkins struggled to score for most of the season, but she did establish a career high with 10 points against UAB in the C-USA Tournament quarterfinals. The Miners will also have Neidy Ocuane in the point guard mix. The junior redshirted as a result of a knee injury, and like Seda is from Maputo, Mozambique. Ocuane's presence will give the Miners some much needed experience at the one spot.
UTEP will have a returning nucleus that features guards Najala Howell, Roeshonda Patterson, Katarina Zec, Rachel Tapps, Cook, and Jenkins plus forwards Zuzanna Puc and Jordan Alexander. Ocuane and 5'11 forward Ariona Gill redshirted this season and both will be important additions for 2018-19. Coach Baker also announced the signing of 6'1 forward Ariana Taylor last November. Late recruiting will be extremely important for the Miners, who will try and add some impact players to the mix.
The team improved its win total by nine games from last season. For Baker and his staff, that is just the beginning. UTEP fans know that the future is bright and it is just a matter of time before the Miners make a deep run of their own in the C-USA Tournament.