POSTED: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 11:37pm
Buoyed by 11 three pointers and a solid effort on the boards (43-34), the UTEP women’s basketball stomped Cal State Northridge, 79-59, inside historic Memorial Gym Friday evening.
The Miners (5-2), who never trailed in the contest, closed out the first half on a 21-6 run to stake a 19-point lead (40-21) at the break. They continued to pour it on the second stanza, eventually extending their cushion out to as many as 33 (73-40). The Matadors (0-8), to their credit, played hard to the final whistle but never were able to get closer than 20.
“It took us some time to settle in,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We kicked it in gear the first 10 minutes of the second half. I’m pleased to get the win.”
Briana Green led the way for the Orange and Blue with a season-high 20 points, with Kelli Willingham (12 points, 11 assists) and Sviatlana Trukshanina (11 points) also reaching double figures in scoring. It marked the first career double-double for Willingham, whose 11 assists rate as the third most in a single game by a UTEP freshman and tie as the fifth-highest sum regardless of class in program history.
UTEP connected on 43.8 percent from the field (28-64), including a stout 57.9 percent (11-19) from distance. Green sunk 5-of-9 three-pointers, with Trukshanina (3-of-3), Willingham (2-of-5) and Dietra Caldwell (1-of-1) also getting in on the fun.
Unselfish play was important, with the Miners racking up a campaign-high 23 assists-compared to just 14 turnovers. UTEP also got after it on the glass (43-34 rebounding margin) on the way to improving to 5-0 on the year and 16-2 over the past 18 games when winning the battle of the boards.
The Matadors were not nearly as effective. In fact, they finished with more turnovers (23) than field-goals made (17-of-45). CSUN went 4-12 from three-point range while also struggling at the free-throw line (63.6 percent, 21-33).
It was a three-headed attack for the visitors, with Jasmine Erving (22 points), Janelle Nomura (20) and Violet Alama (10) combining to tally all but seven of its points. Erving also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to post a double-double.
The teams traded buckets for the first portion of the opening period, and the Miners led 16-15 with 7:50 to play in the stanza. UTEP came to life, though, using a 10-1 run over the next 2:08 to stake its first double-digit edge (26-16) of the tilt. Erving halted the stretch with a jumper but six straight UTEP points put it up by 14 (32-18) with 3:14 to go in the first half.
After the Matadors trimmed the deficit to 11 (32-21), the Miners rattled off eight successive points to put the finishing touches on a fine first 20 minutes.
UTEP put things on cruise control in the second half, allowing Adams the opportunity to empty her bench.
The Miners will be idle for a week before taking to the road for the first time of the 2010-11 campaign when they play at UC Santa Barbara at 8 p.m. MT on Saturday, Dec. 11.