Match-ups with both NM State and New Mexico, traveling to compete in a pair of prestigious tournaments in non-conference play for the first time since 2009-10 and a compelling 18-game Conference USA slate highlight the 2016-17 schedule for the UTEP women's basketball team, as announced by head coach Keitha Adams Thursday.
"We're excited to release our schedule for the 2016-17 season," Adams said. "We've put together a challenging high caliber non-conference schedule which will help prepare us for our very competitive league."
UTEP will face St. Mary's (Texas) in an exhibition contest on Nov. 4. The '16-17 campaign opens in earnest with a three-game homestand featuring Northern Arizona (11/11), Texas Southern (11/13) and Western New Mexico (11/17).
The Miners will spend the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. Virgin Islands to play in the 2016 Paradise Jam. UTEP will have three match-ups in as many days against power conference programs, locking up with LSU (11/24), NC State (11/25) and Kansas State (11/26).
UTEP returns to the Don Haskins Center, where the Miners were 19-1 at last year, to lock up with Houston Baptist (11/30). Rivalry week takes center stage after finals exams, with a road game at New Mexico (12/11) followed by the Haskins Center serving as the site for the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 with NM State (12/15).
The inaugural Patrick Harrington Tournament will take place from Dec. 19-20, with the Alabama, McNeese State, Pittsburgh and UTEP comprising the field. UTEP will be off for Christmas before wrapping up non-conference action with a weekday matinee special against Cal-State Bakersfield (12/28).
UTEP will ring in New Year's and kick off its 2017 C-USA slate at home with UTSA (1/1). Visits from LA Tech (1/5) and Southern Miss (1/7) will conclude the Miners' first three-game homestand to start league play since 2009.
Seven of the next nine contests will be on the road, including playing four straight away from home for the first time '05-06. The stretch begins with match-ups at FIU (1/12), at Florida Atlantic (1/14) and at UTSA (1/21) before a break in travel with home tilts vs. WKU (1/26) and Marshall (1/28). UTEP then returns to the road to play at UAB (2/2), at Middle Tennessee (2/2), at LA Tech (2/9) and at Southern Miss (2/11).
The Miners then have four consecutive games in the Sun City, marking the longest home stretch for league tilts since '05-06. Coming to town will be North Texas (2/16), Rice (2/18), Florida Atlantic (2/23) and FIU (2/25).
UTEP concludes the regular season by playing at Old Dominion (3/2) and at Charlotte (3/4) before turning its attention toward the 2017 C-USA Championships (3/8-11). For the third straight year, the league's pinnacle event will be held in Birmingham, Ala., with UAB serving as host.