Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | El Paso Herald Post
UTEP women’s basketball (11-5, 8-3 C-USA) won its sixth straight game and opened the series against UAB (7-8, 2-7 C-USA) with a 74-53 victory on Friday night in front of 292 fans at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
The victory extended UTEP’s winning streak to six games, which is the longest win streak for the program since winning seven straight games during the 2015-16 season. It also marks the longest win streak in the Kevin Baker era.
The Miners had three players reach double-digits for the third straight game with Katia Gallegos leading the way with 16 points (13 in the second half alone). Elina Arike did most of her damage in the first half with 12 points and eventually ended the game with 14 (7-of-10). Avery Crouse also contributed to the 21-point victory with 11 points (4-of-6) in the win. DejaNae Roebuck led the team with six rebounds, while Gallegos grabbed five rebounds.
UTEP forced 17 turnovers on the night and made the most of them with 27 points scored off turnovers compared to 11 by UAB. The Miners’ bench contributed 27 points on the night, while UTEP tallied 36 points in the paint.
The Miners and Blazers traded shots and the lead for most of the first half, but UTEP held a one-point advantage entering the break.
In the third, UTEP was dominant on defense, holding UAB scoreless for the first eight minutes and outscoring the Blazers, 13-5, in the quarter. The Miners used a 14-0 scoring run from the end of the second until 2:11 left in the third to claim a 47-38 lead entering the fourth.
The five points by UAB is the second time in as many games the Miners have held their opponent to under six points in the third quarter. It is also 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.
UTEP continued to shoot over 50 percent in the fourth quarter and extended the lead to as many as 23 at one point to all but wrap up the team’s sixth straight win.
Overall, the Miners shot 53.7 percent from the field (29-of-54) and 46.7 percent from three-point range (7-of-15). As for UAB, the Blazers were held to 21-of-55 (38.2 pct.) from the floor and 5-of-27 from behind the arc.
UAB’s Margaret Whitley was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points (7-of-20), while Zakyia Weathersby had eight points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for the Blazers.
Next up, UTEP wraps up the series against UAB on Saturday, February 6 at the Don Haskins Center. Saturday’s game is set to tip off at 4 p.m. MT and can be seen on CUSA.TV for subscribers.
Fans can also tune in to the radio broadcast with Tim Hagerty calling all the action on the UTEP Miners app.
Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post