Turnovers Cost UTEP against Houston


POSTED: Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 7:12pm

UPDATED: Sunday, January 16, 2011 - 10:40pm

EL PASO, TEXAS- Gloria Brown (14 points), Ashley Milian (12 points) and Dietra Caldwell (10 points) all reached double digits in scoring but it wasn't enough as the UTEP women's basketball team was derailed by visiting Houston, 70-62, inside the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon.

The Miners (10-6, 2-2 C-USA) trailed by two at the break (31-29) only to have the Cougars (13-4, 4-0 C-USA) open the second stanza on a 17-4 run over the first four minutes and 13 seconds. The surge afforded UH its largest lead of the game (48-33) but UTEP would fight back. It came in the form of a 21-8 run to slice the deficit all the way down to two (56-54) with 7:13 left in regulation.

It remained a two-point tilt (58-56 Houston) with 5:20 to play before the visitors rattled off nine straight points to regain control of the contest for good. The Miners continued to battle, but could get no closer than five down the stretch.

UTEP shot a crisp 46.0 percent from the floor (23-50)-compared to 37.1 percent (23-62) by the Cougars while also winning the rebounding battle (37-35) but came up shy due to an inability to take care of the basketball. The Miners committed 23 turnovers, including 15 in the second half, and were out-scored 29-11 in points off giveaways. Another factor was at the free-throw line, where UH drilled 18-of-21 tosses. UTEP connected on 11-of-17 in that area.

"We had 23 turnovers, and against a team like that you cannot do that," UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. "We didn't set the tone for ourselves over the first two or three minutes of the second half."

The two teams traded blows early on, and it was tied five separate times within the first 10 minutes of the tilt. UTEP found itself up by three (17-14) with 10:44 to play but UH utilized an 11-2 run over the next four minutes to pull ahead by six (25-19). It was back-and-forth the next couple of minutes, and UH's edge was still at six (29-23) with 3:31 to go in the stanza.

The Miners would claw back to force the seventh tie of the half with six straight points. Courtney Taylor, who led a quartet of UH players in double figures for scoring with 18 points, converted on a late lay-up to afford visitors the aforementioned two-point halftime lead.

UH would take command early on in the period though, with seven giveaways by the Orange and Blue giving the visitors much more help than needed during the stretch. The Cougars scored eight straight points to open the stanza and 17 of the first 21 on the way to building the aforementioned 48-33 lead.

Rather than fold up shop, the Miners regrouped in an effort to get back into the game. Caldwell drilled a triple and then Brown made a lay-up to fuel a 5-0 spurt in the blank of an eye. UH halted with a lay-up before the Orange and Blue ran off five more points in succession to climb back to within five (50-45).

The Cougars would push it back out to nine (54-45) with 9:45 to play, but once again UTEP struck back. This time it came in the form of a 9-2 sequence to make the score 56-54. The two teams traded blows the next couple of minutes only to have UH finally seize control with the big run late.

UTEP will play its second straight home contest when it challenges Rice at 7:05 p.m. on Jan. 20. The match-up will be highlighted by the "Girls Night Out" & "Senior Citizens Night" promotions. All senior citizens will receive free admission to the contest.

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