Keitha Adams and the UTEP Women continue their Conference USA journey with the Charlotte 49ers (8-8, 2-1) Saturday night.
Charlotte lost Wednesday 61-60 to UTSA in San Antonio, the 49ers started the year off a sluggish 1-3, and finished 6-7 in non-conference play with their only key win coming over UCF.
The 49ers were picked to finished fourth overall in the pre-season, and have three players averaging double figure scoring numbers.
Nya Hammonds is their best player, she dropped 25 points on Furman earlier this year, averaging 11 points a game.
Forward Keira Gordon had been on a tear for Charlotte, but was held to just two points in the UTSA loss, though she can really rebound, and is a force down low.
The Miners are coming off a tough road loss to a talented Middle Tennessee squad.
UTEP (13-3, 2-1) turned the ball over 25 times against the Blue Raiders, and found itself it foul trouble late in the second half that dug the Miners in a hole they just could not get out of.
Kelli Willingham has been on fire from behind the arc, the senior is back in her groove after missing six games with a wrist injury earlier this season.
Of course Kayla Thornton is a player who will always get her numbers, her match up with Gordon is going to be a tough one as both are physical, and good rebounders.
Charlotte won 26 games last year, en-route to a WNIT Sweet 16 appearance, returning nine players from that squad, so this will be tough conference foe for the Miners despite Charlotte s .500 start.
While the women will be holding down the Don, the Men are on the road against the always fun UAB Blazers.
Vince Hunter matched his career high 20 points in back-to-back games, as the Miners tough defense, and physical rebounding, lead to clutch offense pulling away from Middle Tennessee Thursday night.
UTEP (12-6, 2-1) has held their past two opponents to 32, and 31 percent shooting, forcing 20 turnovers combined in those games.
Rebounding is becoming a UTEP identity, the Miners were plus-14 on the boards in those two wins against Marshall and Middle Tennessee.
Taking care of the ball is C.J. Cooper's main job now, after playing 40 minutes, and knocking down two clutch threes at point guard, Cooper may have found some confidence we have all been looking for.
He was taking a lot of flack on the last thread, me included, but he deserves credit for playing hard defense all season, and being a leader during this "transition period". Getting to line should be his priority, opening up his shot later in the game when its needed.
John Bohannon was a monster in the paint against Middle Tennessee with 7 blocks, and 11 rebounds.
Two JUCO transfers have helped UAB jump out to a 10-0 mark at Bartow Arena this season including a win against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Chad Frazier and C.J. Washington lead the Blazers in scoring, and have been perfect fits after solid runs at the JUCO level.
Washington has added another dimension to the way they rebound, with a +11.6 rebounding margin, the Blazers are at the top of the C-USA, and the nation in rebounding.
Frazier was highly touted coming out of Gulf Coast Community College, and is averaging 17.6 points per game, living up to his four star ranking.
UAB also attacks the rim more than any other team UTEP has faced this year. The Blazers have made nine more free throws than their opponents have attempted, converting 71 percent overall from the charity stripe.
This one could be another classic UAB and UTEP match up, something of a rivalry could be brewing with the way the last five games went down.
Here is a look at the past five UAB and UTEP battles.
January 30th, 2010, UTEP 74 UAB 65 2OT. Bartow Arena
Game winning shot by Julyan Stone in regulation was called off due to an "alleged" basket interference by Arnett Moultrie sending the game into OT. Randy Culpepper broke Aaron Johnson's nose when they both collided dome pieces. UAB was ranked 25th at the time, Derrick Caracter had 20 points and 18 rebounds.
March 6th, 2010, UTEP 52 UAB 50, Haskins Center
Caracter had the huge dunk with one second left that sent the Miner Maniacs in a frenzy as UTEP captured the C-USA regular season title. UTEP was ranked 24th.
January 8th, 2011, UAB 100 UTEP 97, 3OT, Bartow Arena
Cameron Moore hit a 3-pointer to win it all, snapping a 15 game C-USA winning streak for the Miners. Randy Cullpepper scored 34 that night, Moore finished with 29 points to lead UAB.
February 4th, 2012, UAB 61 UTEP 60, Haskins Center
Michael Perez missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, Jordan Swing scored 19 points on 5 long balls. Both teams had losing records in down seasons to forget.
January 30th, 2013 UAB 78 UTEP 72, OT, Bartow Arena
UTEP blew a 13 point early second half lead, and turned the ball over 21 times to give UAB the overtime win. Swing earned my label of him being a UTEP killer with 24 points, 12 of which came down the stretch of that game.
The last six games at Bartow have led to six overtime periods, should be a fun night of UTEP hoops.
Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for more information on all things UTEP sports, and make sure to Follow @sbnminerrush on Twitter for live updates throughout the games from the Haskins Center.