Nebraska, the top team in the "others receiving votes" category in the USA Today/ESPN women's Top 25, was upset at home by 10-7 Illinois, 62-52, which will almost certainly drop them behind UTEP if the Miners can beat UAB at home Sunday.
That would move UTEP up to 27th if everything else holds. Two other teams ahead of UTEP won: Michigan, the team directly in front of the Miners, won at Northwester 67-53; and No. 24 Florida State won at Boston College, 67-57.
Most of the other games involving teams directly in front of UTEP happen Saturday and Sunday.
In Conference USA games Thursday: Memphis protected home court against ECU in a battle of contenders, 66-56; SMU took a half-game lead over UTEP by beating Southern Miss 79-69 to stay unbeaten in league; preseason-favorite Tulane won at Rice 69-65; and Tulsa routed Marshall 67-49.