POSTED: Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 11:54pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 27, 2012 - 7:37pm
Gloria Brown posted a monstrous double-double and head coach Keitha Adams secured her 300th collegiate win after UTEP downed Southern Miss, 70-63, at Reed Green Coliseum Thursday evening.
Brown poured in a career high 27 points, aided by making a school-record 17 free throws, while grabbing the second-most rebounds (19) in program history to help extend the Miners' (18-2, 7-0 Conference USA) winning streak to eight.
UTEP started the second half on a 12-2 run, which not only erased a 30-28 halftime deficit but also propelled it into the lead for good. The Lady Eagles (6-14, 0-7 C-USA) tried to rally but each push by the home side was countered by the Orange and Blue.
Adams is now 300-182 in her 16th year as a collegiate head coach, including 173-145 in 11 seasons at UTEP.
“I’m really happy about this win for our team,” Adams said. “Southern Miss played us tough and made us earn it. It was a great road win. Gloria Brown had a fantastic game tonight. She rebounded well, and that set her up for a huge night.
“In regard to 300 (wins), it makes you reflect on all of your past players. I’m very appreciative to have had a lot of great players, and it is nice to think about them.”
Brown was instrumental but she had some help. Kelli Willingham tallied 13 points, including sinking four big three pointers while junior Kristine Vitola added 12 points and seven boards.
Kim Smith also played an important role for Adams' charges. She registered two assists, had five boards and played 25 minutes of turnover-free basketball in a game which the Miners had 22 miscues.
UTEP connected on 35 percent (20-57) from the floor but compensated for that by going 25-0f-33 at the charity stripe and crushing USM on the glass, 51-27. Brown equaled the school standard with 19 free throws attempted. Twenty-two of the rebounds were of the offensive variety, which helped the Miners enjoy a 19-5 advantage in second-chance points.
As has been the case throughout the campaign, UTEP’s depth was a decisive factor. The Miners’ reserves racked up 47 points, compared to just five for USM.
Jamierra Faulkner flirted with a triple-double (20 points, 11 assists & 8 steals) to lead the way for Southern Miss. She was joined in double figures in scoring by Niesha Pierce (13 points) & Tanecka Carey (12 points).
USM connected on 54.2 percent of its shots in the opening period but in a telling stat, was only up two at the break. The Miners made their customary halftime adjustments, and USM managed to make just 33.3 percent over the final 20 minutes.
UTEP out-scored USM, 42-33, after the break, and it is now 5-1 on the year when trailing at halftime.
The Miners will return to action when they play host to UCF at 2:05 p.m. MST Sunday.