UTEP Women Lose Conference Road Opener


POSTED: Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 7:18pm

UPDATED: Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 9:17pm

HUNTINGTON, W. VA- The UTEP women's basketball team was derailed at Marshall, 62-58, inside the Cam Henderson Center in a nationally-televised (CBS College Sports) game Sunday afternoon.

The Miners (9-5, 1-1 C-USA) shot the ball better than the Thundering Herd (5-9, 1-1 C-USA) while also committing fewer turnovers but were ultimately done in at the free-throw line and on the glass. Marshall connected on 16-of-23 at the charity stripe-compared to 3-of-4 by UTEP- with the discrepancy in part due to the home side enjoying a 43-25 advantage in rebounding.

Despite those issues, the Miners found themselves up one (53-52) with 2:55 to play. MU put together a 6-0 run, though, including tallying four straight points at the free-throw line, to regain the lead for good. Tynikki Crook, who led the way for the Thundering Herd with a double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds) keyed the sequence. She blocked a shot by Anete Steinberga with MU clinging to a one-point edge (54-53 with 2:15 to play). She then came up with an offensive rebound, was fouled and made two free throws on the ensuing possession.

"They kicked our tails on the boards and that was the difference in the game," Adams said. "We did not rebound like we needed to, and it cost us today."

Gloria Brown and Kelli Willingham led the way for UTEP, tallying 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Ashley Milian pitched in nine points. The Miners connected on 42.1 percent (25-of-57) from the floor, including hitting 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range. UTEP also took care of the ball, finishing with a season-low 12 turnovers.

Crook and the Thundering Herd proved to be too much at the other end of the court, though. MU hit 40 percent of its shots (22-55) but found a way to come up with 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 11 second-chance points. Alaya Mitchell (12 points) and Veronica Ruiz (10 points) joined Crook in double digits for scoring.

UTEP bolted out to a 5-0 lead early but the Thundering Herd countered with eight straight points. The two teams traded blows over the next couple of minutes before MU used a mini surge to stake a six-point edge (17-11, 12:29). UTEP struck back in the form of a 10-2 run to pull back ahead.

The Miners would carry the lead into the locker room (34-33) only to have the Thundering Herd fight back in the second stanza. MU opened up the period on an 11-4 run to vault back out to a six-point edge (44-38), which matched its biggest advantage in the game.

To its credit, UTEP battled back and eventually regained the lead after Steinberga converted a lay-up. It was short-lived, though, with a jumper from Orlandria Williams starting what would prove to be the aforementioned game-deciding 6-0 run.

The Miners will look to get back on track when they play at Memphis at 6 p.m. MT on Jan. 13.

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