UTEP women stomp St Mary’s in exhibition game, 81-51
POSTED: Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 8:25pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 3:39pm
El Paso, TX — Kayla Thornton poured in 22 points to lead a quartet of Miners in double figures, and UTEP throttled St. Mary’s 81-51, in its lone exhibition contest of the 2013-14 season at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.
The Miners led 21-15 with 8:55 to play in the first half before a 15-2 surge afforded them a 23-point cushion (40-17) heading into halftime. UTEP put it in cruise control in the second stanza, leading the Rattlers by at least 30 for the final 13 minutes of the contest.
“It was a good game and we got to play everybody,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams. “We made the next, extra pass that led to a great shot. That is something we are still working on, but I think we’re getting a little better at that. I’m not pleased with was having 25 turnovers. That’s way too many. We’ll work on that.”
Sophomore Cameasha Turner (11 points), senior Kelli Willingham (10 points) and Jenzel Nash (10 points) joined Thornton in double figures. Senior Kristine Vitola flirted with a double-double (nine points, nine rebounds) while Thornton was second on the squad in boards (five).
It marked the return to the court for both Nash and Vitola, after each missed last year due to torn ACLs. All seven newcomers also played in the game, giving the Miners some much-needed depth and a plethora of options for Adams.
“It was good to Kristine and Jenzel back out there, “Adams said. “We are trying to figure this thing out. We have a lot of new faces. It’s a good start. We are a work in progress.”
UTEP connected on 44.4 percent of its shots (24-of-52), including 40.9 (9-of-22) from distance. Willingham led the way from distance with a 3-of-4 effort while Thornton drilled a pair as well.
The Orange and Blue defended with a vigor, holding the visitors to 30.4 (17-of-56) shooting on the day. UTEP was especially solid in its defense of the three-point line, holding St. Mary’s to a paltry 7.7 percent (1-of-13).
Kiara Etheridge, Morgan Pullins and Kyra Littlejohn each tallied eight points to pace the visitors.
UTEP will open its season in earnest when it plays host to UTPB at 7 p.m. MT on Friday. It will mark the start of a six-game homestand to initiate the campaign.
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