Miners Fly By Western Kentucky 92-60 in NCAA First Round

March 22, 2008

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  UTEP Miners Travel to California for NCAA Tournament  |  UTEP Miners prepare for Western Kentucky  |  UTEP vs Western Kentucky. Photos by Ivan Pierre Aguirre  |  AP Photos  |  Gallery (Brian Kanof) 


March 22, 2008

Contact:  Mark Brunner

E-mail: mbrunner@utep.edu

Phone: (915) 747-5722


No. 23/25 UTEP Routs WKU, 92-60, In NCAA First Round


STANFORD, Calif.- After waiting 34 years to play a postseason tournament, the No. 23/25 UTEP women's basketball team certainly made the most of its first opportunity by throttling Western Kentucky, 92-60, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening on the campus of Stanford University.


UTEP moves into the round of 32, where it will take on host and second-seeded Stanford Monday evening.


The Miners (28-3) utilized a 14-0 run early in the second half on the way to turning a four-point edge (42-38 with 16:43 left) into an 18-point cushion exactly three minutes later. The Lady Toppers (26-8) never got closer than 14 points down the stretch.


The season-high 92 points-including 54 after the break- marks the highest total against a division I opponent since a 96-point effort against UAPB last year and the third-best effort in the past 17 campaigns.


UTEP dominated in all facets of the contest. The Miners shot 50 percent from the floor, compared to 39 percent by WKU, including the fifth-best effort from three-point land in school history at 56.3 percent. The Orange and Blue out-rebound the Lady Toppers-who entered the contest as the No. 10 rebounding team in the country- enjoying an 42-35 edge on the glass to remain undefeated on the season when winning the battle of the boards.


UTEP forced WKU into 22 giveaways, which were converted into 30 points. At the other end of the court, the Miners had no such problems with 21 helpers and only 12 turnovers.


Natasha Lacy (19 points, seven steals and six assists) Jareica Hughes (17 points and eight helpers) and Kasia Krezel (15 points and five boards) led the way, but they had plenty of help.


Freshman Brittnay Jones keyed a tremendous effort by the Orange and Blue's bench, pouring in nine points to go along with two boards. Claudia Porras (eight points, five boards and three blocks) and Tasha Marisett (six points and five caroms) also stepped up. Overall, UTEP's bench accounted for 27 points and 21 boards.


Not to be overlooked is the defensive performance of Timika Williams and Izabela Piekarska, who held WKU's Crystal Kelly to five points below her average (17 points). The duo made the All-American work for everything she got, visibly frustrating her with the smothering defense.


The Miners were in control most of the night, as WKU's lone advantage of the contest was at 2-0. There were five ties, the last being a 29-29 stalemate with 3:06 to play in the opening half. A Jones lay-up sparked a 9-2 run to close the half, and the Miners would never trail from the point on.


The effort afforded the Orange and Blue a 38-31 advantage heading into the locker room.


In the second stanza, WKU closed the margin to 42-38 after an early surge. UTEP had an answer, though, in the form of the aforementioned 14-0 run to blow open the contest. The advantage ballooned to 20 with 11:01 remaining after a lay-up by Lacy. UTEP's largest lead of the tilt was 34 (92-58 with six seconds left).



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