Miners And Aggies Both Lose
Senior Ashley Milian poured in a season-high 14 points while Gloria Brown and Anete Steinberga each pitched in 13 points but it wasn’t enough as the UTEP women’s basketball team fell, 72-63, to Denver inside Magness Arena on Wednesday.
The Miners (7-4) dug themselves early holes of 8-0, 10-2 and 25-13 and could never ultimately recover, with the Pioneers (8-5) holding off several rally attempts to improve to 6-0 at home this year. The final UTEP push came in the form of a 20-9 surge over a span of 11:14 to slice what was a 12-point deficit (52-40) down to just one (61-60) with 2:10 remaining in regulation.
DU would not relinquish its advantage, however, tallying five straight points-all at the free-throw line- to give it some much-needed breathing room. UTEP refused to quit, and got it back to a one possession game (63-60) after Steinberga completed an old-fashioned three point play. The Pioneers managed to extend their lead back out to five with two more makes at the free-throw line before tacking on four more points in the waning seconds on layups.
“It was a tough game,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We didn’t play good enough defensively to get the win. That’s it in a nut shell.”
UTEP moved the ball well on offense, tallying 17 assists- to just 13 turnovers- but had some challenges in knocking down shots. It connected on 39.1 percent from the floor (25-64), including 26 percent (5-19) from three-point range. The offensive attack was powered by Brown, Milian and Steinberga. Senior Sviatlana Trukshanina also got in on the act with nine points but no other Miner had more than five points.
The Orange and Blue harassed the Pioneers into making 16 turnovers- which led to 20 UTEP points- but their defense wasn’t quite good enough. DU filled up 47.9 percent (23-48) of its tries, including 33 percent (4-12) on treys. It was a four-headed scoring monster for the Pioneers, with Kaetlyn Murdoch (20 points), Britteni Rice (19 points), Brianna Culberson (15 points) and Emiko Smith (nine points) combining to score 63 of their 72 points on the night.
The battle of the boards went the way of Denver (37-34), and the Miners are now 0-3 on the campaign when failing to out-rebound the opposition. Another factor in the game was the Pioneers going 22-of-29 at the free throw line, taking advantage of 25 fouls on the Miners. UTEP, meanwhile, was 8-of-13 at the charity stripe with Denver being whistled for 12 infractions
The Miners will be idle until after the New Year. They will be back in action when they wrap up the non-conference portion of its slate at I-10 rival New Mexico State at 2:05 p.m. MT on Jan. 2.