Hot Shooting Night Sends UTEP Past Tulsa, 66-56

The UTEP women’s basketball team shot a blistering 57 percent from the floor in the first half to jump out to a 12-point lead at the break en route to knocking off Tulsa, 66-56, for a crucial win inside the Don Haskins Center Friday evening.


In securing their second straight triumph, the Miners improve to a school-record 21-6 on the year. More importantly, the Orange and Blue are now 10-5 within Conference USA and remain tied for third place heading into the regular-season finale.


In what was a sloppy ball game-the two teams combined for 47 turnovers- UTEP was able to overcome that by turning in its third-best shooting effort on the year. The Miners connected on 52 percent of their shots, including 53 percent (8-of-15) from three-point land.


At the other end of the court, UTEP contested every shot which forced the Golden Hurricane into a frigid 36 percent from the field. The Miners also did a decent job defending preseason C-USA player of the year Jillian Robbins. She finished with a game-high 26 points, but had to take 20 shots to do so.


“It is always better to win ugly than to lose pretty,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We shot the ball pretty well, just got hurt by our 23 turnovers. We had good balance (four players in double digits), and that helped us win.”


For the second consecutive contest, four players finished in double digits for UTEP. Freshman point guard Jareica Hughes led the way with 17 points-including 12 in the first half- but she had plenty of support.


Shalana Taylor poured in 12 points while dishing out a game-high seven assists. Timika Williams chipped in 12 points and pulled down a team-high seven boards, while Whitney Thornton came off the bench to contribute 10 points on a perfect night of shooting.


Tulsa came out of the gates quickly, scoring four straight points in the first minute and the half of the ball game. UTEP did not rattle, though, as the Miners struck back with eight straight points to take the lead. It was an advantage that they would not relinquish.


The two teams traded baskets the next several minutes, as neither squad was able to mount any sort of significant run. With 8:40 left in the half, that all changed. Taylor drilled a triple, sparking a mini 5-0 spurt for the Orange and Blue to push UTEP up by nine (22-13).


Tulsa halted the stretch with a bucket by Robbins, but as would be the case all night, the Miners had an answer. This time it was a jumper by Tasha Marisett, which ignited a 6-0 run to vault UTEP ahead by 13 with 5:22 left in the period.


The Miners eventually pushed the advantage out to 15- their largest edge of the game- with 39 seconds left in the stanza before entering the locker room with a 12-point cushion (37-25).


It marked the 19th time this year that the Orange and Blue have gone into the break enjoying and edge, and like all but one game (the controversial finish at ECU), they would emerge victorious.


In the second half, Tulsa tried to make a game of it, closing to within seven (49-42) with 9:03 left, but the Miners once again responded. UTEP rattled off seven straight points to vault up by 14 (56-42) to essentially seal the win.


The Golden Hurricane continued to battle, creeping back within seven with a late spurt down the stretch, but it was simply too little too late.


The Miners will be back in action against SMU for “Senior Night” at the Don at 7 p.m. on Saturday.



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