Mustangs Spoil UTEP Senior Day


POSTED: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 10:26pm

UPDATED: Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 11:17pm

EL PASO, TEXAS- Gloria Brown recorded her second straight double-double but behind a barrage of three-pointers SMU snuck past UTEP, 70-64, to spoil "Senior Day" at the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon.

The Miners (14-13, 6-9 C-USA) won the rebounding battle (39-31), hit one more field goal and turnovers were even, but they had no answer for the Mustangs' (14-14, 7-8) effort from distance. SMU connected on 12-of-22 three pointers, with reserve guard Raquel Christian hitting 8-of-12 to lead the way. She finished with a game-high 32 points, including 22 in the second stanza.

"The three ball really hurt us today," UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. "I would have liked for us to have adjusted a bit more but it was a great performance by Raquel Christian."

Brown overmatched the Mustangs down low with 12 points to go along with 16 rebounds. Freshman Kayla Thornton (11 points) and Erika Warren (10 points) joined Brown in double figures for scoring while Kim Smith (nine points), Kristine Vitola (eight points) and Kelli Willingham (seven points) also got in on the act.

UTEP hit 41 percent of its field-goal attempts (25-of-61), including 50 percent in the second stanza. The Miners out-distanced the Mustangs in points in the paint (28-18) and of the second-chance variety (10-5) but ultimately came up shy due to an inability to contain Christian.

Her 32 points were more than the Miners' reserves in total (30), which was aided by her going 6-of-7 from three-point range during the second stanza. Samantha Mahnesmith pitched in 13 points while Haley Day netted 10 to support Christian's career day.

UTEP jumped out to earn advantage only to have the Mustangs rattle off eight straight points on the way to staking a 10-6 edge with 13:58 to play in the first half. UTEP countered with seven straight points, with an old-fashioned three-point play from Kim Smith capping the sequence.

It was back-and-forth over the next several minutes before visiting side managed a small push to stake a four-point lead (24-20) with 5:21 to play in the period. The Orange and Blue struck back with a 7-2 run to climb back ahead by one (27-26). Christian hit a triple, though, to afford the visitors a 29-27 lead entering the locker room.

SMU carried that momentum into the second stanza, expanding their advantage out to eight (40-32) with 16:58 remaining in regulation. UTEP roared back with eight straight points to tie it at 40 with 14:57, and eventually pulled ahead (47-45) following a strong post move by Brown.

The Mustangs recovered, however, with a 9-2 run putting them back on top for good. Christian tallied eight of the points in the sequence.

Brown filled up a jumper to get the home side within three (54-51) only to have Christian answer with a triple. The Mustangs managed to push their lead out to nine (65-56) with 1:45 to play before the Miners mounted one final rally.

UTEP scored six straight points to trim the deficit down to three (65-62) with 30 seconds to play but the Mustangs were able to hold on.

The Miners will wrap up the 2010-11 regular season when they play at Tulsa at 6 p.m. MST on Thursday.

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