POSTED: Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 9:57pm
UPDATED: Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 10:37pm
Sophomore Kayla Thornton posted a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) while freshman Jenzel Nash poured in a career-high 18 points to propel the UTEP women’s basketball team past Houston Baptist, 82-53, at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.
The Huskies (0-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the Miners (3-0) used an 11-0 run to stake an advantage they would never relinquish. UTEP, off to the fifth 3-0 start in program history, led 43-17 at the half before putting it on cruise control in the second half.
“It was a good team win tonight for us,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “When you play hard and have the effort, you’ll be rewarded for it.”
The Miners hit on 38.6 percent (32-83) of their shots while limiting HBU to 30.5 percent (18-59), but the difference in the game was merely effort. UTEP out-rebounded HBU, 60-38, with Thornton leading the way with 11. Junior Kristine Vitola and senior Erika Warren helped with nine boards each while Gloria Brown pitched in eight points and seven rebounds.
UTEP secured 29 offensive rebounds, the third most in program history, which led to 33 second-chance points. The Miners outdistanced HBU in points in the paint, 46-22.
UTEP’s reserves accounted for 46 points, much in part thanks to the efforts of Nash. The Parade All-American put on a show, with a dazzling fake on a one-on-one situation midway through the second half bringing the crowd to its feet.
It was a balanced offensive approach across the board for the Miners, with Thornton and Nash being buoyed by nine points from Kelli Willingham, eight from Brown, seven by Kim Smith and six from Anete Steinberga.
Shanice Steenholdt registered 18 points while Devyn Weymouth contributed 16 points to guide the Huskies’ offense, but no other HBU player had more than six points. The visitors were harassed into 19 turnovers, which led to 21 UTEP points.
The Miners used a barrage of three pointers early in the game to vault out to an 11-2 advantage with 16:05 to play in the opening half. After HBU trimmed the deficit to seven (13-6) UTEP rattled off eight in a row on the way to securing its initial double-digit advantage of the contest.
The visitors would get no closer than 11 from that point on, with the Miners taking care of everything across the board. UTEP blitzed the Huskies with nine straight points over the final four minutes of the period en route to carrying the 26-point lead into the lockeroom.
The Miners continued to pour it on after the break, extending it out to as a many as 43 (82-39) thanks to a lay-up from Nash. To its credit HBU continued to played hard, scoring the final 14 points of the game to make the final score a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
UTEP will continue its five-game homestand by locking up with in-state foe UTSA at 7:05 p.m. MST on Tuesday.