Miners Drop Sacramento State, 67-49
Dec. 30, 2008
Led by Sviatlana Trukshanina’s 19 points, the UTEP women’s basketball team cruised past Sacramento State, 67-49, to take home third place at the 2008 San Diego Surf N’ Slam Classic Tuesday evening. The Miners never trailed on the night and led by 14 (42-28) at the half.
By virtue of the victory, UTEP (7-6) secures its third consecutive winning record in non-conference play for the first time in more than a decade (1996-97 to 1998-99) and just the second occasion in program history. The Hornets, meanwhile, wrap up non-league play at 2-11.
There were also some individual milestones, with Timika Williams snagging four caroms to become the 12th player in program history to collect more than 500 career rebounds. Additionally, Jareica Hughes chipped in eight points, making her the 11th member of 900-point club at UTEP in the process.
The Orange and Blue excelled in almost every area of the game. UTEP connected on 48.1 of their tries from the floor, including a crisp 60 percent from three-point land. Unselfish play sparked the offense, with the Miners racking up 18 assists.
At the other end of the court, the Hornets were held to 30.2 shooting from the floor. Furthermore, the Miners won the battle of the boards (39-34). Junior Ilda Chambe led the charge in that department, racking up a career-high 11 boards.
The lone area which was a challenge for the Miners was free-throw shooting, as UTEP went 6-of-18 from the charity stripe. It proved to be a moot point, though, due to the supremacy by the Orange and Blue in the other aspects of the contest.
It was an aggressive Miner squad that christened the contest, with a 7-0 spurt turning the lone tie of the tilt into a 10-3 lead with 16:13 left in the period. Tremendous ball movement keyed the stretch, with the extra passes each possession leading to wide-open looks.
The Hornets fought back and twice clawed their way within four, the latter being down 16-12 after Atty Boyer drained a jumper from the left wing. The Miners responded with five straight points to reassert a comfortable edge. Channing Hillman initiated the sequence by coming up with two offensive rebounds off of missed shots by Chambe and Brittnay Jones, respectively, before taking matters into her own hands by filling up a short jumper.
Hughes capped it with a long triple from the corner, forcing the Hornets to call timeout. A lay-up from Jasmine Christensen pulled Sacramento State to within seven (21-14), with 7:45 on the clock. On the ensuing possession, Trukshanina afforded UTEP its initial double-digit edge of the game (24-14) by knocking down a long three. It was short lived, however, with the Hornets’ Charday Hunt countering with a three of her own.
Hughes reinstated the double-figure advantage by burying her second trip of the game, and this time the Miners would make it permanent. The Hornets would not get closer than 12 for the rest of the half, not to mention the game, with UTEP coasting into the locker room armed with the aforementioned commanding 14-point lead.
The Orange and Blue did not rest on their laurels during the final 20 minutes, though, determined to make sure there would be no comeback. While the Miners’ offensive output was slowed over the first 13 minutes of the second stanza, the defense continued to excel.
The end result would be the Orange and Blue out-scoring Sacramento State 22-12 during the stretch, taking away any chance of comeback in the process. UTEP put things on cruise control down the stretch, extending their advantage to as many as 25 (62-37) with 8:46 left following another Trukshanina triple.
UTEP will be back in action against Tulane at 5:05 p.m. Don Haskins Center Friday. The contest, which will be nationally televised by CBS College Sports, marks the first of three straight home games to christen league play for the Orange and Blue. It is also part of a double header, with the men’s team taking on UT Pan American in the nightcap.