UTEP Women Hope to Break Eight-Game Losing Skid in Vegas
To say that the last eight games for the UTEP women's basketball team have not gone their way would be an understatement. It has been more than a month since the Miners last won a basketball game, and their current eight-game losing streak is the longest the program has endured since the 2001-02 season. That team lost their final 18 games and it was also Keitha Adams' first season in El Paso.
The good news is head coach Kevin Baker will not have to play basketball powers like New Mexico and Arizona on the remainder of his schedule. UTEP continues their longest road trip of the season at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic at the South Point Arena. They play Western Illinois at 3:30 p.m. today and then meet Akron tomorrow at 6 p.m. I will be courtside and have the call for both games live on 600 ESPN El Paso.
The Miners and Fighting Leathernecks have both struggled this season. WIU enters today's game with a record of 3-8 despite winning 22 games a season ago and playing in the WNIT. However, they are in a rebuilding phase with just one starter and six letter winners returning from their WNIT team. They have lost their last three games and the showdown with the Miners will be their first action on the court in 12 days.
"They play a 1-3-1 zone and run motion on offense," UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. "They’re big and they shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Last
year they were one of the top scoring offenses in the country, but they graduated pretty hard. They’re still figuring out who they are this year. They’ve struggled a little bit, but they do what they do and will be a tough matchup for us.”
UTEP has struggled at times to shoot the ball against the zone and Katarina Zec, Jordan Alexander, Alexa Hoy, Ariona Gill, and Jordan Jenkins will need to play well in order to give the Miners a chance to get back on the winning track. They will need to attack the zone from the corner and get their best shooters some open looks. WIU does not have a player over six-feet tall, so junior Zuzanna Puc could have a big afternoon if she is able to get the ball in the low post and attack the basket. Defensively, UTEP will also need to blanket the perimeter and not allow the Fighting Leathernecks to get into a shooting rhythm.