MINERS
Miners Fall Just Short At Kansas State

Natasha Lacy

Natasha Lacy

Dec. 1, 2007

Final Stats

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The UTEP women's basketball team (4-2) suffered a hard-fought 66-58 loss at Kansas State (4-3) in the championship game of the Commerce Bank Classic on Saturday afternoon. The Miners used an incredible 16-0 run over the first 8:56 of the second period to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit, but the Wildcats clawed back to pull out the win.

Natasha Lacy and Jareica Hughes led the way offensively for the Miners, with 18 and 17 points, respectively, who displayed plenty of heart in the game. Facing a Kansas State squad which has qualified for six straight postseason tournaments and is riding a 19-game unbeaten streak at home against non-conference foes, UTEP twice rallied from double-digit deficits.

In the end, though, UTEP was done in by a five-minute scoreless stretch late in the second half and its inability to bang down low. KSU controlled the boards to the tune of 41-27 and held an advantage of 28-16 in points in the paint.

I'm proud of the team's effort today," head coach Keitha Adams said "We are going to have to apply the lessons from this game and learn from it for later this year."

Kasia Krezel, one of three Orange and Blue players to foul out, got the Miners off to a good start, burying a triple from the corner on their first possession of the ball game. The two teams then traded baskets, before the Wildcats utilized a 9-0 run to vault out to a 15-7 advantage with 14:28.

UTEP had an answer, though, rattling off six straight points of its own to climb back within four (17-13), with 10:43 left in the first half. The spurt forced the homestanding Wildcats to call a time out, and UTEP was unable to sustain the momentum following the break.

Kansas State broke open the game courtesy of a 13-2 sequence the next several minutes, affording the Wildcats their largest edge of the contest (30-15). UTEP continued to battle, however, narrowing the deficit to 11 (40-29) at the half.

It was an inspired Orange and Blue squad that took to the floor in the second half, as it turned up the heat at both ends of the court. Lacy drained a triple to start the stretch innocently enough, which was followed by a Hughes free throw. Izabela Piekarska, who made her presence felt defensively with five blocks, drained a triple for her only points of the game to bring UTEP within one (40-39) with 14:41 left.

The Miners had put the clamps down at the other end of the court, forcing the Wildcats into either taking tough shots or committing a turnover. The effort allowed UTEP to stake a 45-40 advantage with 11:31 to play after Hughes sliced through traffic for a contested lay-up.

Kansas State did not rattle, though, answering back with a 16-2 spurt the next five minutes to afford the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish. UTEP was determined not to go down without a fight, as a Hughes triple brought them within two (56-54) with 4:32 to play.

As was the case all night, however, the Wildcats responded. KSU rattled off nine straight points to essentially put away the Orange and Blue.

UTEP will be back in action against New Mexico State a week from today, where it will look to sweep the season series from its I-10 rivals.

 

 

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