File photo courtesy Ruben R. Ramirez | UTEP/El Paso Herald Post
SAN ANTONIO – UTEP women’s basketball (10-5, 7-3 C-USA) won its fifth straight game and completed the series sweep over UTSA (2-13, 0-10 C-USA) with a 67-51 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center in San Antonio.
The victory extended UTEP’s winning streak to five games, which is the longest win streak for the Miners in the Kevin Baker-era and the longest overall for the program since winning seven straight games during the 2015-16 campaign. It also marked the sixth straight win over the Roadrunners in a streak that dates back to the 2018-19 season.
Over the course of the six-game winning streak over UTSA, the Miners are winning by an average margin of 20.8 points.
For the second straight game, the Miners had three players reach double figures, including a season-high 14 points from Sabine Lipe off the bench. After UTEP’s reserves scored 45 in Thursday’s win at home, the Miners continued to get production from their bench with 33 points on Saturday.
Lipe, who scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, tied a career-high with four three-pointers in six attempts, while she also added six rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes of action.
Katia Gallegos (5 rebounds, 6 assists) and Isis Lopes (3 assists, 2 steals) each added 10 points apiece in the win, while the duo also combined for eight rebounds and eight assists in the contest.
Michelle Pruitt contributed with seven points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Avery Crouse scored five points and grabbed six rebounds). Destiny Thurman also had seven points in the win over UTSA.
UTSA jumped out to a 13-12 lead over the Miners after one quarter of play, but UTEP opened the second with a game-tying free throw followed by a three-pointer by Gallegos to recapture the lead with 9:07 left in the first half. From there, the Miners never relinquished the lead, going on a 14-5 scoring run midway through the second.
The Roadrunners responded by going on a 10-4 run of their own, but UTEP held on to a 30-28 advantage at the half.
The Miners put together one of their most impressive defensive performance this season in the third, holding UTSA to just six points in the entire period and outscoring the Roadrunners 21-6 for a 51-36 lead entering the fourth. The six points by UTSA is the fewest points allowed by UTEP since holding FIU to five in the third quarter on Jan. 2, 2020 in a game the Miners went on to win, 64-34, in El Paso.
UTSA was 3-of-14 from the field in the third (21.4 FG%), while Lipe was just getting warmed up for the Miners, going 2-for-2 from three-point range to extend the lead to 45-32 midway through the quarter.
In the fourth, UTSA came out firing, opening the quarter with a 12-6 run to cut the lead to 11 with 6:01 left in the game, but Lipe came through with her fourth and final three-pointer of the game to make it a 60-46 lead for the Miners. UTEP went up by 13 with under two minutes to play and iced the game with a three-pointer to close out the 16-point victory.
Overall, the Miners shot 46.4 percent from the floor (26-of-56) and 40.7 percent from behind the three-point line (11-of-27). As for UTSA, the Roadrunners were held to 18-of-58 (31 pct.) from the field and 4-of-13 from three-point range.
UTSA’s Mikayla Woods was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points (6-of-18), while she also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the game.
Next up, UTEP returns home to host UAB on Feb. 5-6 at the Don Haskins Center. The series between the Miners and Blazers begins at 7 p.m. MT on Friday (Feb. 5), while Saturday’s game (Feb. 6) is set to tip off at 4 p.m. MT in El Paso.
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