UTEP Falls At UAB, 64-58
Jan. 31, 2009
The UTEP women's basketball team was knocked off by UAB, 64-58, in a hard-fought game inside Bartow Arena Saturday evening. The Miners (12-9, 5-3 Conference USA) vaulted out to an 11-point lead at the half (33-22) only to have the home-standing Blazers (9-13, 4-5 C-USA) come alive after the break to post the come-from-behind triumph.
It was a tale of two halves, with everything going in favor in the Miners in the opening 20 minutes. Junior Jareica Hughes, who poured in 12 of her team-high 19 points in the initial stanza, helped UTEP shoot 44.8 percent from the floor in the period compared to 38 percent by UAB. The Miners harassed the Blazers into committing 13 turnovers in those initial 20 minutes, which were converted into 12 points.
There would be unwelcome reversal of fortunes in the second stanza, which started with Briana Green going down with an injury and Hughes picking up her third foul in a span of a minute-and-a half. Hughes stayed in the game for the Miners, who led 39-30 with 16:13 to play at the time of the sequence, but UTEP was forced to alter its approach on both ends of the court.
With Hughes unable to set the tone, the Blazers took advantage. UAB out-scored the Orange and Blue 18-6 over the next seven minutes and 20 seconds en route to staking a 48-45 lead with 8:53 remaining. UAB's Brittney Jones, who paced the Blazers with 25 points and 11 rebounds, contributed eight of the points during the sequence.
UTEP didn't panic, though, striking back with a 5-0 spurt spanning two-and-a half minutes to seemingly regain control of the contest in the process. Hughes capped the stretch with a FT to afford the Miners a 50-48 lead with 6:28 remaining, but as it turned out, that would prove to be their final edge on the night.
UAB's Tamika Dukes, who contributed 15 of her 17 points in the second half, brought the Blazers even with a pair of free throws. Miteka Trueheart then drained two from the charity stripe to make it 52-50 with 6:01 to play in the period. The Miners answered with a lay-up from freshman Fannie Goodwin, who once again was a huge spark off the bench with eight points and 10 rebounds.
The Blazers countered with four more Dukes' free throws which allowed them to enjoy a 56-53 edge with 3:21 on the clock. UTEP again struck back, tying the contest for the final occasion on the strength of a triple from Sviatlana Trukshanina.
UAB regained the lead, and this time for good, following a jumper from Dukes with 1:29 left. Hughes almost tied the tilt at 58 with a little more than one minute to play, but a lay-up amongst plenty of traffic rimmed out. The Blazers corralled the rebound and Fatiha Salaam filled up a long triple to make it 61-56 UAB with a mere 43 seconds left.
Timika Williams, who contributed nine points and nine rebounds, sliced the deficit to three with a pair of free throws but that is as close as UTEP got.
The Miners finished the game at 32.8 percent form the floor, including 18.8 from beyond the arc, with a challenging shooting effort in the second half (9-of-38 overall/1-of-12 on threes) playing a large factor in those final figures.
UTEP did win the battle of the boards (41-35), aided by 21 offensive rebounds, but the Blazers compensated by filling up 50 percent of their shots in the second half on the way to finishing at 44.4 percent for the game.
The three-game C-USA road trip will come to a close when the Miners battle East Carolina in Greenville, N.C. at 5 p.m. MST on Thursday, Feb. 5.