UTEP women’s basketball seniors Jenzel Nash and Sparkle Taylor have been voted to the 2016-17 Conference USA Preseason Team, as announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon. Additionally the Miners were picked fifth in the annual C-USA women’s basketball preseason poll. Both the preseason team and poll were voted upon by the league’s 14 head coaches.
Western Kentucky, which along with UTEP advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 WNIT, was voted first in the poll. The Lady Toppers will be led by preseason Player of the Year Kendall Noble. Defending C-USA tournament champion Middle Tennessee placed second with Old Dominion (third), Charlotte (fourth) and UTEP (fifth) rounding out the top five.
Nash, a 2016 All C-USA first-team honoree, led the regular-season league champion Miners in points/game (13.8) while rating second on the squad in assists/game (2.8), rebounds/game (5.6-20th C-USA), steals/game (2.8-second C-USA/18th nation) and third in free-throw percentage (.714-13th C-USA/246th nation. She reached double figures in scoring a team-high tying 25 games while recording at least three steals in 20 contests.
Taylor, the 2016 C-USA Sixth Player of the Year, put up 9.8 points/game in only 17.3 minutes/game. She nailed 47.2 percent (126-267) of her shots from the floor to place second on the squad in field-goal percentage. Taylor was the top scorer off the bench for the Orange and Blue 17 times overall. Included among that were 10 of her total 15 games played during C-USA action.
UTEP is in its first week of practice to prepare for the 2016-17 season. The Miners will tune up for the year by playing host to St. Mary’s (Texas) in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4. Season tickets continue to be available for purchase. Fans may call (915) 747-6150 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to secure theirs today.