LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The UTEP women’s basketball team lost its first game of the season with a 81-55 setback against Kansas on the final day at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in South Point Arena on Saturday night.
The Miners (5-1) shot only 29.4 percent (15-51) from the field, while the Jayhawks (5-1) hit over 54 percent (25-46), including 45.0 percent (9-20) from beyond the arc.
Destiny Thurman led the way with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown, while Eliana Cabral tallied 10 points (6-8 FT). Teal Battle also hit double figures (10 points) and led the way with eight boards. Masha Vasileuka came off the bench and scored five points. Erin Wilson grabbed six boards off the bench. Katia Gallegos struggled, only scoring one points with zero assists. She finished 0-for-5 from the field.
Kansas jumped out to a 7-0 lead and even took a 10-point lead (11-1) at the 5:22 mark after a Holly Kersgieter layup. But Thurman answered with the Miners’ first field goal on a jumper that started an 11-0 run. Thurman tallied eight of the 11 points that put UTEP up 12-11 with 2:47 to play in the quarter.
However, Kansas’ Mia Vuksic answered with a 3-point basket to go up 14-12. The Jayhawks never looked back in the first half, jumping out to a 40-22 advantage at the 2:24 mark in the second quarter.
Battle grabbed an offensive board and converted a second-chance bucket. Cabral followed with a layup to make the count 40-26. Thurman, who scored 14 first-half points, hit her fourth 3-pointer to get the Miners within 13 (42-29), but Yaiyanna Jackson’s layup with 18 seconds left in the half gave KU a 15-point lead at the half.
Kersgieter led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while Vuksic tallied 14 on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point distance. Zakiyah Franklin added 14 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the foul line.
KU tallied 16 assists and forced 19 UTEP turnovers. The Miners outrebounded the tall and lengthy Jayhawks, 34-28.
The Miners were without the services of starters Elina Arike (8.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and Avery Crouse (10.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and reserves Mahri Petree (5.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg) and Adhel Tac (2.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg).
The Miners will play at rival NM State in game two of this season’s Battle of I-10 on Wednesday, Dec. 1 with tip set for 6 p.m. UTEP defeated the Aggies in the first contest, 76-61, on Nov. 17 in the Haskins Center. Miner fans can listen live on 600 ESPN El Paso and the UTEP Miners with Mando Medina calling the action. Click here for tickets.
NEXT HOME GAME
UTEP will host Utah State on Saturday, Dec. 4 in the Haskins Center. The Miners and Aggies are set to tip off at 1 p.m. The Miners were edged out by the Aggies, 68-65, last season (Dec. 13) in Logan.