Peterson's 27 too much for UTEP to Overcome

Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 7:32pm

EL PASO, TEXAS- Junior Gloria Brown notched her third double-double on the season (13 points, 12 rebounds) but the UTEP women’s basketball team still came up shy against visiting UAB, 62-56, at the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon.

The Miners (12-9, 4-5) out-rebounded the Blazers (38-22) but couldn’t get it done in other areas. UTEP gave the visiting side more help than it needed by committing 21 turnovers, in addition to going 14-of-22 at the free-throw line.

The Miners hit 39.1 percent (18-of-46) from the floor, with Brown leading the way. Dietra Caldwell and Kelli Willingham each pitched in 10 points to support Brown, while Baiba Eglite registered eight points in her first start of the year. No other Miner finished with more than six points.

UAB didn’t have much balance either, but it did have a two-headed scoring monster in the form of Amanda Peterson and LaShaundra Pratt. Peterson poured in 27 points, including 18 via the three-point shot, while Pratt tallied 16. The Blazers connected on 43.2 percent of their shots (19-of-44), which was aided by a readout of 53.3 percent (8-of-15) over the final 20 minutes. UAB was 15-of-22 at the charity stripe, but compensated for that by going 9-of-20 on three-point tosses.

“It was a tough shooting night for us, and there were some times we didn’t execute well,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “Amanda Peterson had an unbelievable individual performance. We played extremely hard the final 10 minutes but give Peterson and UAB credit.”

UTEP committed three turnovers in as many possessions at the onset of the game, which helped UAB jump out to a 5-0 lead. The Miners settled down momentarily, rattling off five straight points to tie the tilt with 15:53 remaining in the first half. As it turned out, that would prove to be the only tie of the game.

UAB countered with 7-0 push before Caldwell halted it with a long triple. The momentum was short lived, with the Blazers using an 8-2 surge to grab their first double-digit advantage (20-10) of the contest.

Rather than let UAB just run away with the game, UTEP regrouped to register seven consecutive points to climb back within three (20-17) at 7:52.

The Blazers tightened things up from that point on, limiting the home side to a pair of points (two Kayla Thornton free throws) the rest of the period. While the visitors didn’t exactly light it up offensively during the stretch, they did enough to secure a 26-19 lead heading into halftime.

UAB blitzed UTEP to the tune of 5-0 in the initial moments of the second stanza, and as result led by 12 (31-19) with 18:47 to go in the game. The Miners clawed back into contention with seven straight points before Peterson connected on a trey. Pratt then made a couple of free throws to cap a mini 5-0 Blazers’ run.

Junior Erika Warren willed her squad back within six (39-33) after consecutive strong finishes in the point. Peterson put an end to the push by nailing back-to-back treys. Khaliah Watson tacked on a pair of free throws to conclude an 8-0 run, which allowed UAB to lead 47-33 with 8:39 remaining in regulation.

The Miners mounted one final rally, with seven consecutive points to slice the deficit in half (47-40) with 6:36 left. Pratt halted the sequence with a fortuitous bank shot with only two seconds on the shot clock, and UTEP would never get closer than five down the stretch.

The Miners will head to the “Sunshine State” to square off against UCF at 5 p.m. MT on Feb. 10. The game will be aired locally in El Paso on KHRO 1150 AM. The contest can also be followed through gametracker. It will mark the first of three straight road tilts for the Orange and Blue.

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