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Fans say Miner women's basketball season could help future of UTEP athletics

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- A sold-out crowd of more than 12,000 fans packed the Don Haskins Center for the Women's National Invitation Tournament championship basketball game Saturday. In the end, the University of Texas at El Paso women's basketball team lost to Rutgers University 56-54.

UTEP sold out back to back games in the WNIT, and this is only the second time that has happened in the tournament's history. UTEP also led attendance in all five rounds of the tournament, and expects this year's run to help the future of UTEP athletics.

"When you have success at one sport, it draws so much attention to the university. When people hear about the success that they're having, it brings other athletes here," northeast El Paso resident Albert Sinegao said.

Some fans told KFOX14 they've supported the Miners throughout the tournament, and they're proud of the team for making a comeback at halftime.

"The fact that we were down 18 points at one point in time, that just shows the perseverance that our team has. We still have a lot to look forward to," Sinegao said.

"It just stings because we were so close. I'm really proud of our team. I'm proud of El Paso," head coach Keitha Adams said.

Adams also said it's been exciting to see families attending the games.

"I think it's great that those kids have been exposed to UTEP. They've been exposed to a great college athletics atmosphere. Now, there's going to be a lot of kids dreaming about being in college sports someday," Adams said.

The team also hopes this season's success boosts attendance for future games.

"I was never really a Miner fan, but I am now," Lower Valley resident Anna Garcia said.

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