MinerTalk Podcast: Hometown Freshman Katia Gallegos Talks Hoops
UTEP needed Katia Gallegos just like she needed UTEP.
It was a perfect match for a team that desperately needed a true point guard for the past two seasons. For Gallegos, the opportunity was, and continues to be, a dream come true.
She's currently the C-USA leader in assists per game (5.0), ranks fourth in the league in assist to turnover ratio (1.7) and is second on UTEP in scoring (9.9 ppg). And Gallegos has been a significant reason that the Miners hold an 11-5 (4-1 C-USA) record midway into the season.
But when you ask about her accolades and what she's done thus far, she reverts her individual progress to the team's success.
"I'm just hoopin'," shrugged the 18-year-old Gallegos, who joined the podcast to talk about her journey. "We want to win as a team so I'm doing everything possible to get us a step ahead and win."
Gallegos grew up playing basketball in Juarez, MX., where she usually played on concrete-paved outdoor courts. When her family moved back to El Paso, she played for Franklin High School, along with club teams and starred in the Mexico U18 national team in the FIBA World Championships. She earned All-State, All-Region and All-District honors to close out her four-year varsity career at the high school level.
It took time for her to adjust at the college level once she joined the Miners. Gallegos spent the off-season developing relationships on and off the court with players and coaches, while also working on her strength and development to translate her skills to the Division I ranks.
Gallegos has started in each game for the Miners and has scored in double-figures in 10 of 16 games thus far. It's the assists that she prides herself with, though. In fact, she is coming off a season-high 10 assist performance against UTSA.
Along with Avery Crouse, Arina Klopkova and Tatiana Modowar, Gallegos joins a talented batch of freshmen newcomers that have been the foundation for this UTEP squad.
She's also the first hometown product since Kayla Thornton, who is now a starting forward for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.
So through our 20-minute conversation, Gallegos talked about her upbringing in the sport, discussed her journey onto the UTEP team and gave us some great perspective into her young career.