Senior Kayla Thornton recorded her 16th double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) of the year but it wasn’t enough as the UTEP women’s basketball team was upended by North Texas, 73-64, at the Super Pit Wednesday evening.
The Miners (20-5, 9-3 C-USA) came out with plenty of energy, out-rebounding the home side 20-6 over the first 12 minutes to help stake a 22-18 lead with 8:19 to play in the first half. The Mean Green (11-14, 5-7 C-USA) struck back in a big way, though, closing the period on a 21-6 surge, including a 16-0 run, to put the Miners in a double-digit hole (39-28) heading into the locker room. North Texas out-rebounded the Orange and Blue, 9-4, in the sequence while also forcing them into making three of their 11 turnovers in the period.
The sides traded blows for the first several minutes of the second half, and North Texas led by 14 (51-37) with 12:10 to play. UTEP peeled off seven straight points-all by Jenzel Nash- to cut the deficit in half (51-44, 10:19 left), and another road comeback win seemed to be in the works.
North Texas would not have it, though, never flinching even as the Miners made their runs. UTEP worked it all the way down to just four points (68-64) with 1:35 to play in the game only to have the Mean Green close out the contest in style with the final five points.
The setback halts the Orange and Blue’s seven-game winning streak.
“We didn’t do enough to get it done,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “The first half was a tone setter for us. We didn’t shoot the ball well.”
Nash (11 points) and Sparkle Taylor (13 points) joined Thornton in double figures for scoring while senior Kristine Vitola grabbed 10 rebounds. The Miners won the boards, 48-41, but the Mean Green held a 35-28 advantage in that area over the final 28 minutes of the contest.
UTEP finished at 36.5 percent from the floor, which was hindered by a 5-of-26 (19.2 percent) effort from beyond-the-arc. The Miners also committed 18 turnovers, which led to 21 points for home side.
UTEP did well to take care of business at the free-throw line (13-of-18, 72.2 percent). It also had advantages in bench scoring (22-21) and second-chance points (19-16), but the shortcomings in other areas were simply too much to overcome.
Eboniey Jeter (19 points), Alexis Hyder (15 points), Desiree Nelson (14 points) and Briesha Wynn (14 points) all reached double figures in scoring for North Texas. The home side connected on 40.6 percent (26-of-64) from the floor, aided by a readout of 46.9 percent (15-of-32) over the first 20 minutes.
UTEP will look to get back on track when it kicks off its final homestand of the regular season by playing host to East Carolina at 7:05 p.m. MST Saturday. Fans are encourage to help “Pack The House” while having a chance to win either a flat screen TV or a mini iPad.
Get four free tickets by purchasing any Papa John’s pizza or stop by any Howdy’s location. Teachers throughout the El Paso community can call (915) 747-6065 to learn how they can receive a school packet with free tickets to the game as well.