Thornton earns another Conference USA honor
El Paso, TX — For the second straight week and the fourth time this year, UTEP senior forward Kayla Thornton has been tabbed as the Conference USA Player of the Week.
The announcement from the league office kicks off what should be an exciting week for the Miners (17-4, 6-2 C-USA), who will put their four-game winning streak on the line with home match-ups against Louisiana Tech (7:05 p.m. MST Wednesday) and FIU (7:05 p.m. MST Saturday). All seats for both contests are only $2, and fans can also receive free admission for the match-up against FIU by wearing pink.
Fans are in for a special treat in the match-up against FIU, with the nation’s leading scorer (30.3 points per game) and two-time All-American Jerica Coley invading the Don Haskins Center. UTEP is 12-1 at the venue this year, and will be counted on a big turnout to successfully defend its homecourt against La Tech and FIU.
This week’s games are of the upmost importance. While No. 25 Middle Tennessee leads the league at 7-0, UTEP is tied for second with East Carolina and Tulane at 6-2 but four other squads are just one game back at 4-3. The top-four finishers will receive a double-bye for the C-USA Championships (March 11-15 in El Paso).
Thornton helped keep UTEP in the hunt by recording two double-doubles in as many games last week. She opened up week by putting up 15 points and 11 rebounds while also recording five steals in 28 minutes of action in the 77-50 rout of Marshall on Jan. 29.
The senior followed that up with a monstrous double-double (29 points, 18 boards) in guiding UTEP to a come-from-behind 86-72 win at Tulane. She had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) by halftime, which helped the Miners stick around (trailed 35-28) heading into the break. The El Paso native then was instrumental in the second half with 19 points & eight rebounds, including coming alive from three-point range.