Panther Preview: Women’s Basketball Squares off Against UTEP Miners

FIU guard Fujika Nimmo scored 28 points in game two against UTSA, the most points scored by a Panther since 2017. Photo by FIU Athletics

Richard Gibson / Sports Director

The FIU Women’s Basketball Team will look to continue their record-breaking season this weekend against the Texas-El Paso Miners. 

Both games will be played on campus at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Game one of the doubleheader will be on Friday, February 12th at 7pm, and game two will be on Saturday, February 13th at 2pm.

The Panthers are coming into the doubleheader with momentum to spare, sweeping the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners last weekend by scores of 72-60 and 107-103 in triple overtime.

FIU’s record now stands at 9-7 overall, with a 6-4 record in Conference USA. Their nine wins are already the most they’ve had in a single season since 2013. They remain in third place out of the seven teams in the Eastern Division.

UTEP should prove to be an even more difficult matchup for the Panthers when compared to UTSA. They enter the series with a 12-5 record, and are tied for first place in the Western Division of C-USA with the Rice Owls. They’re currently on a seven-game winning streak which began in January against the North Texas Mean Green.  

Historically, the Miners have had the advantage over FIU. Out of their 10 meetings since 2014, the Panthers have lost nine of them, including last season 34-62 loss on January 2nd. Their sole win in the series was on January 12th, 2017, and it took three overtimes to get it done then, too.  

What makes UTEP a threat is their defense, which is ranked third out of all 14 teams in Conference USA. They have the best rebounding defense in the conference, holding opponents to just 33.6 rebounds per game.

The Miners also have a .435 field goal percentage, which is third best in the conference. They also have the third most assists, averaging 14.82 per game. Their marquee guard Katia Gallegos leads the team in both scoring and assists, with 257 and 82 respectively. 

Despite their efficient defense, their offense is only average. FIU has proven they have the offensive firepower to compete with anyone, as they’re ranked second in the category in Conference USA. Guard Kyla Nelson is continuing a dominant scoring season, averaging 15.6 points per game. Forward Emerald Ekpiteta and guard Jisselle Thomas aren’t far behind, averaging double-digit games of their own.

The Panthers offense will be one of the biggest challenges that UTEP will face this season. If FIU can stay consistent with their shooting and rebounding, and hold off the Miners on defense, they should be able to stay as contenders for the Conference USA Championship.

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW

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