EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – The North Texas women defeated UTEP 67-59 in a back-and-forth affair at the Don Haskins Center on Friday night.
The Miners (5-5, 2-3 C-USA) shot just 41 percent from the floor, and were just 2-13 from three-point range, as the Mean Green (8-2, 5-0 C-USA) put the game away down the stretch.
Trailing by five points entering the fourth quarter, the Miners went on a quick 6-0 run to begin the quarter and take a 51-50 lead. However, North Texas snatched the lead back for good on the very next possession as Quincy Noble buried a corner triple to begin a 16-9 run to end the game.
“You just have to tip your hat to North Texas on a couple shots because I really thought we defended them well the whole game,” head coach Kevin Baker said. “We made people shoot the ball who don’t normally shoot it. We tried to take (Quincy) Noble away the best that we could. They hit some big shots that they don’t characteristically hit in situations. When it mattered down the stretch when the game was really tight, we turned the ball over three or four times in a row and that really hurt our chances because it sort of deflates our energy defensively when we do that.”
UTEP was led by sophomore guard Katia Gallegos, who tallied 13 points, seven assists, three rebounds and a pair of steals. Michelle Pruitt added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Avery Crouse and Isis Lopes each totaled seven points apiece for the Miners. North Texas had two players notch 17 points each in Noble and N’Yah Boyd.
The loss is UTEP’s third consecutive defeat, after the Miners were swept on the road at Rice last week. UTEP opened league play with a home sweep of Southern Miss. Despite the recent run of tough play against some of Conference USA’s best competition, Baker liked what he saw from the Miners on Friday night and is hopeful it turns into a win on Saturday.
“I think with the way that we’re playing right now that we can win a lot of games and be competitive in any game just because we’re defending pretty well and rebounding pretty well,” Baker said. “The only thing we didn’t do tonight is we didn’t make open shots and we turned the ball over too much. Those are two correctable things and I think we’ll shoot the ball better tomorrow, for sure, and I think we’ll take care of the ball better. We don’t have a whole lot to fix, but we have to be better in those two areas.”
UTEP and North Texas will square off again on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Don Haskins Center.