Things have gone from bad to worse with UTEP football, and who knows what else we'll see from them in the coming weeks. The good news is, other programs around Miner Nation are thriving, and basketball season is almost here. Considering that, here's what going on around Miner Nation, Conference USA, and the rest of the country as well.
AROUND MINER NATION
Today, Conference USA released its preseason poll, as voted on by the 12 head coaches, and the Miners were picked to finish 2nd in the league. Of course, the Miners were the C-USA champs a year ago, but did lose 7 seniors, including star forward Gloria Brown.
They do however return six of their top seven scorers, and four of their top five rebounders, and bring in a solid class of talented freshman.
Coach Keitha Adams Had this to say about the recognition her team is receiving:
"Preseason polls are great for the fans but at the end of the day they don't mean anything...We have a lot of work to do in order to be ready for the season. I have a lot of respect for everyone in Conference USA, and we will have to be ready to play every time out."
Also, junior forward Kayla Thornton, an El Paso native, was named to the 8 member preseason all Conference USA team. Last year Thornton averaged 9.8 points, and 7.3 rebounds for the Miners. Congratulations to her on the honor.
After dropping four straight road contests to open up league play, the Miners returned home and got back to their winning ways, dropping both UAB and nationally ranked Memphis Friday and Sunday at University Field.
Friday the Miners topped UAB 3-2, with goals coming from Tori Martyn, Alexis Alaniz, and Azia Nicholson. Sunday they dropped #22 Memphis 4-1 on scores from Martyn (2), as well as Tess Hall, and Jade Babcock. The wins get UTEP to 9-6 overall, and 2-4 in conference play with four to go.
The team will now face both Southern Miss and UCF this week at home, before hitting the road to wrap up the Conference USA season at Rice and Houston next week. Don't forget that the Miners will be hosting the Conference USA championships this year at University Field beginning October 31st.
The UTEP volleyball team had its win streak of six straight snapped last Friday night at Rice. The Owls, who currently are in the lead in Conference USA, dropped the Miners in straight sets (26-24, 25-22, 25-23) to improve to 12-8 and 5-1 in conference play.
The Miners, who fell to 10-8 and 4-2 with the loss, turned around and handed Houston a three set loss (25-19, 25-20, 25-16), to get back on the winning track. Now at 11-8 and 5-2, the Miners only sit one game out of first place with 9 conference matches remaining.
Today at the Conference USA basketball media day, Coach Tim Floyd sat down for a Q&A session to discuss wher his team currently stands. You can check that out at UTEP Athletics, but here's a quick piece of what he had to say.
They are our most experienced players. Obviously we didn't win as many games as we would've liked [last year], so they're going to have to improve. In Bohannon's case, he needs to make fewer mistakes and get more rebounds. We'd love for Jacque to improve defensively and finish at the rim a little better. Julian needs to continue to make strides offensively in terms of the ability to come off actions and catch and score. His rebounding numbers need to improve as well, and he needs to shoot more free throws.
AROUND CONFERENCE USA
Also today at the Conference USA basketball media day, the conference officially unveiled the tv schedule for the upcoming season. Our Miners have a total of nine contests slated for television, including four on CBS Sports Network, one on Fox Sports Network, two on ESPN2, one on Comcast Sports, and one on Time Warner Texas. Have a look at the complete schedule here.
Through six weeks the Tulsa Golden Hurricane are still the only C-USA team receiving any votes in the top 25 polls. Interestingly enough, after receiving 1 vote last week in the USA Today Poll and 0 in the Coaches' Poll, they received 2 in the Coaches' this week and 0 in the USA Today. This comes after their second straight Conference USA road win, this time at Marshall.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
This morning, convicted child molestor Jerry Sandusky received his sentence from Judge John Cleland. The sentencing will guarantee that Sandusky will spend a minimum of 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence for the 68 year old.