UTEP put up 78 points while shooting 49 percent from the floor, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with high-octane New Mexico in a 93-78 setback at the Don Haskins Center Tuesday morning in the Don Haskins Center.
Nearly 1,500 fans, most of them young students, made for an entertaining atmosphere on the Miners’ (3-1) “Education Day” game, but the Lobos (5-0) emerged victorious in a battle of unbeatens. Katarina Zec (16 points), Tatyana Modawar (career-high 12 points) and Katia Gallegos (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring for UTEP.
Ariona Gill flirted with a double-double (eight points, 10 rebounds) while Avery Crouse netted nine and Ariana Taylor chipped in seven points.
UNM relied on a barrage of 3-pointers (12-29), an extremely good day at the line (17-19) and winning the boards (41-30) to outlast the Miners. The Lobos had a 24-14 margin on second-chance points while also holding advantages for points in the paint (38-28) and fastbreak points (34-12).
The Miners lost for just the second time (14-2) of the Kevin Baker era when scoring at least 70 points.
The Lobos were led by Jordan Hosey’s double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds). Four other players also hit double figures in scoring.
“We just didn’t guard well enough to get the job done,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “New Mexico is a good team, the best one we’ve played so far this year. They attack you so hard. We could never really play the game on our terms defensively. We did a lot of things to try to slow them down.”
“I also want to thank all the teachers out there that brought their kids out today,” Baker said. “It felt good to have them in the gym. They made a lot of noise for the home team.
The Lobos jumped out to an 10-2 lead at the 7:38 mark, taking advantage of Gallegos going to the bench with a pair of early fouls. The Miners regrouped and responded with a 11-2 surge on the way to leading by one (13-12) with 3:48 left in the frame.
It was back-and-forth the next couple of minutes before UNM grabbed control of the contest by wrapping a 14-1 run around the quarter break to jump out by 17 (37-20) with 5:34 to play in the half. A Zec jumper ended the sequence, but the damage had been done. The deficit was 14 at the break.
The Miners twice got it within 10 in the third quarter, but could get no closer the rest of the way.
The Miners will play their second rivalry game of the week when they play host to I-10 rival NM State at 7 p.m. MT Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter), @utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.
Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post