DENTON, Texas (KTSM) – Nobody has done it better than UTEP freshman Katia Gallegos in terms of assists. Gallegos dished out four assists in UTEP’s season finale at North Texas to bring her bring her season total to 146, a new program record. She breaks the prior standard held by Shalana Taylor (142, 2004-05). Gallegos led Conference USA in assists this season.
Ariona Gill (16 points) and Avery Crouse (15 points) each hit double figures in scoring, but UTEP came up short at North Texas, 68-58, on Saturday.
The Miners (15-14, 8-10 C-USA) won the boards (34-33) and forced 26 turnovers, but were doomed by shooting 36.4 percent (20-55) from the floor. Another key factor was the Mean Green (12-18, 6-12 C-USA) connecting on 51.9 percent (13-26) of their shots.
UTEP led by one (34-33) at the half, but UNT outscored the Orange and Blue 35-24 after the break to pull away for the win. The third quarter was particularly decisive, with the Mean Green outpacing UTEP by eight (18-10) in the frame.
“We didn’t play well enough to win tonight,” said UTEP head coach Kevin Baker. “They played better than us.”
Katarina Zec (9 points) and Michelle Pruitt (8 points) nearly reached double figures in scoring as well.
It was back-and-forth early on, with the contest tied at nine midway through the opening quarter before Gallegos found Crouse in transition for the score. The assist propelled her past Taylor for the UTEP freshman single-season record. After North Texas got going to pull ahead by three (16-13), UTEP closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to lead by two (20-18) through 10 minutes of action.
The two sides locked down defensively in the second frame and traded blows, with UTEP settling for a one-point advantage (34-33) at the half. The Miners couldn’t keep things going after the break, with North Texas outscoring them by 11 (35-24) over the final 20 minutes to pull away for the win.
UTEP will regroup and open play at the 2020 Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships at ‘The Star’ in Frisco. The Miners will be seeded seventh and will square off against 10th-seeded Florida Atlantic at 12:30 p.m. MT/1:30 p.m. CT in Wednesday’s first round. The winner will advance to face second-seeded Old Dominion.