EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The UTEP women’s basketball team was taken to the brink on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center, but the Miners found a way to get a win, 67-63, over Incarnate Word.
The Miners lost the lead that they held onto for over 32 minutes midway through the fourth quarter and trailed by as much as five points with under five minutes to play. At the 4:25 mark, sophomore guard Avery Crouse pulled down the biggest of her three offensive rebounds (nine total rebounds) which led to a score from senior forward Dejanae Roebuck to cut the deficit to two points, 61-59.
The Miners pulled down 13 offensive rebounds which translated into 15 second-chance points.
With the clock winding down to 90 seconds, junior guard Sabine Lipe put her body on the line to draw a charging foul – her third time doing so in the game. Sophomore guard Katia Gallegos scored the go-ahead bucket for the second time this week on the next offensive possession, finishing her day with a game-high 17 points. The Miners would not look back from there.
Perhaps the most dramatic scenes came prior to tip-off. Two officials scheduled to work the game tested positive for COVID-19 and the game was delayed for two hours. It just goes to show how fragile the season can be playing through a pandemic.
“It’s going to be a crazy basketball season just like football has been a little nuts,” said head coach Kevin Baker. “I think it’s just going to be that way and the teams that handle that adversity the best are the ones who are going to thrive.”
Over the course of the last 24 hours, the UTEP athletic department has postponed Sunday’s men’s basketball game at Arizona, in addition to canceling Saturday’s football game at Rice just hours before kickoff in Houston.
“We are very grateful to have had our game today. I know football is struggling, I know the boys are dying to play a game, our men’s basketball team too,” said Gallegos. “We have to be grateful for every day we get to practice and play a game out here.”
In addition to leading UTEP in rebounds, Crouse tallied 10 points and was just one rebound shy of a double-double.
UTEP will now turn their attention to rival New Mexico State (1-1) for the second time in a week. Tip-off at the Don Haskins Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.