The UTEP women’s basketball team raced out to an early 7-0 lead and never looked back en route to posting a wire-to-wire 79-48 win against Eastern New Mexico at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.
The Miners (2-1) were up by 15 at the half (37-22) and put things on cruise control in the second stanza. The Zias (0-2) got no closer than 21 over the final 11 minutes of the contest.
“I was much more pleased with the second half than the first half,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “It is a good win for us but we need to look forward as we have a big, big week ahead.”
Junior forward Gloria Brown led the way with a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds), while Anete Steinberga (12 points) and Kelli Willingham (11 points) reached double figures for scoring as well.
Freshman Kayla Thornton contributed nine points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action off the bench, with Kristine Vitola (eight points, six caroms) and Dietra Caldwell (eight points, five assists and four rebounds) also impressing.
UTEP filled up 45.2 percent (28-62) of its shots, including 50 percent (16-of-32) during a crisp second stanza. It drilled 39 percent of its threes (7-18) and connected on 67 percent (16-24) at the free-throw line.
The visiting Zias were not nearly as effective offensively. They missed their first 14 shots from the field, and were ultimately held to a paltry 28 percent from the field (14-50). In fact ENMU connected on more tosses from the charity stripe (16-21) than it did from the floor.
The Zias committed 20 turnovers, which led to 28 points for the Orange and Blue. The lone bright spot was Precious Herrin, who pitched in a game-high 14 points.
Rebounding also proved to be an area of strength for the Miners during the contest. They out boarded ENMU to the tune of 46-28. UTEP secured 17 offensive rebounds, and it was able to convert those into 17 second-chance points.
UTEP bolted out to a 7-0 lead over the first three minutes which was capped by a jumper from Briana Green. The Zias countered with four straight points-all at the free-throw line- and they trailed by five (11-6) with 11:25 to play in the period.
The Miners struck back, however, in the form of a 9-2 surge to assume their first double-digit advantage (20-8) of the contest at 9:25. UTEP kept the pedal to the metal, and it, and it extended the lead out to 15 (37-22) heading into the break.
The surge to close the stanza carried over to the second half, with the Orange and Blue accounting for the first nine points en route to securing a 46-22 advantage with 17:04 remaining in regulation.
The Zias would get no closer than 21 (57-36, 11:45) down the stretch. UTEP eventually extended its margin to as many as 34 (79-45) before settling for the 31-point triumph.
The Miners will be back in action when they play host to Alcorn State at 7:05 p.m. on Monday. It will be “Parent/Child Night,” with kids getting in free.