UTEP women downs Texas State to move to 6-0
El Paso, TX — Kayla Thornton (17 points), Cameasha Turner (career-high 13 points) and Jenzel Nash (10 points) all reached double figures in scoring, and UTEP moved to 6-0 on the year after a 73-60 conquest of visiting Texas State at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.
The Miners (6-0), off to their third-best start in program history, led 41-23 at the break. The advantage swelled to as many as 22 (54-32, 11:58 to play) before the Bobcats (1-5) tried to put together a rally. The visitors battled back but could never get closer than 12 the rest of the way out during the foul-plagued contest.
There were 55 combined infractions in the game (28 on UTEP, 27 on Texas State), with the Miners knocking down 21-of-32 free throws and TSU finishing at 14-of-30 from the charity stripe.
UTEP connected on 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the floor, with that figure aided by 40 points in the paint. Overall 10 Miners scored in the tilt, with freshman Sparkle Taylor (eight points) and junior Stacie Telles (seven points) falling just shy of double figures.
The home side won the rebounding battle (46-36), with Chrishauna Parker (11 boards), Thornton (nine rebounds) and senior Kristine Vitola (six rebounds) keying the efforts in the area. Vitola also made life miserable for the Bobcats by blocking a career-best five shots.
Texas State enjoyed a great night from distance, sinking 10-of-14 three pointers but it finished just 18-of-50 (36.0 percent) overall in the game thanks in part to the interior defense by Vitola. UTEP also forced 22 turnovers, which led to 21 points, in addition to enjoying an advantage on the fast break (17-8).
UTEP scored the first two points of the contest on free throws by Vitola but the Bobcats ran off five straight to secure a 5-2 lead with 18:23 left in the first quarter. Texas State continued to lead by three (8-5) with 16:47 to play in the period before UTEP started one of its signature runs.
Parker got it going with a driving lay-up, followed by a eight straight points in a span of two minutes by Turner to propel the home side into the lead (15-8, 13:36 first half).
The Bobcats halted the sequence with a free throw, and they continued to hang around as the half wore on. The Miners had another gear, though, closing out the half on a 16-5 run to establish the insurmountable 18-point advantage heading into halftime.
Texas State did its best to put together a rally in the second stanza but the damage had been done.
UTEP will return to action with its first road game of the year when it plays at NM State at 6 p.m.
MST Tuesday. The Miners will then be back in the Don Haskins Center for a match-up against former Conference USA member SMU at 4:30 p.m. MST on Dec. 7. The game against the Mustangs is part of a doubleheader with the men’s basketball team, with fans receiving free admission to the women’s contest by purchasing a ticket for the men’s game.