Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
UTEP women’s basketball (13-5, 10-3 C-USA) extended its winning streak to an impressive eight games with a 76-64 road win over FIU (9-8, 6-5 C-USA) on Friday night at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami.
More than half of UTEP’s points came from beyond the arc as the Miners were 13-of-20 from three. The 13 three-pointers ties for the second-most in school history, while the Miners posted the second-highest three-point percentage in program history (65.0).
Isis Lopes was crucial in the win after posting career highs with 22 points (8-14 FG), six three-point field goals (6-8 3FG) and five assists off the bench. Her six three-pointers ties for the second-most by an individual in school history.
UTEP’s eight-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest streak in program history and the longest since the 2015-16 season. Additionally, the Miners have won four straight road contests, which ties for the third-longest road winning streak in history.
Four different Miners scored in double figures in the win. In addition to Lopes’ 22 points, both Avery Crouse (5-12 FG) and Destiny Thurman (5-9 FG) each scored 13, while Elina Arike (5-6 FG) added 10 points on the night.
FIU led by two at the end of the first, but both teams traded shots early on in the second quarter until UTEP took a 27-24 lead with 6:15 left in the half on a Crouse three-pointer.
From there, the Miners never relinquished the lead and took a 37-31 lead into halftime. UTEP continued to add to its lead in the third, shooting 9-of-17 (52.9 pct.) with the help of a trio of three-pointers.
UTEP went on a 12-0 run at the end of the third and start of the fourth to jump out to its biggest lead of the game, a 16-point advantage. FIU fought back to cut the lead to eight with 2:36 left, but the Miners closed out the victory with ease thanks to a pair of jumpers by Thurman and Lopes and a three-pointer from Crouse.
Thirty-one of UTEP’s points came off the bench on Friday night in Miami. Over the course of the eight-game winning streak, the Miners’ bench is averaging 29.8 points per game.
Michelle Pruitt and Arike led the Miners with five rebounds apiece, while Crouse, Katia Gallegos, and Tia Bradshaw each added four rebounds in the win.
As a team, the Miners shot 50.8 percent from the field (30-of-59) and 65 percent from three-point range (13-of-20). FIU shot 24-of-52 (46.2 pct.) from the floor and 7-of-20 (35 pct.) from behind the arc.
FIU had two players reach double figures with Jiselle Thomas leading the way with 27 points to lead all scorers. Thomas added eight rebounds and two steals for the Panthers. Fujika Nimmo added 14 points, four rebounds and two assists for FIU.
Next up, UTEP will face off against FIU in the series finale on Saturday, Feb. 13 in Miami. Saturday’s game is set to tipoff at 12 p.m. MT on ESPN+ (subscribers only).
Fans can also tune in to the radio broadcast with Tim Hagerty calling all the action on the UTEP Miners app and on ESPN 600 El Paso.