The UTEP women’s basketball team was dealt its first loss of the season after falling in a defensive struggle at Long Beach State, 47-40, Friday evening. The Miners (8-1), who trailed by 21 (47-26) with 6:16 to play in the contest, showed tremendous character by refusing to quit. They closed the game on a 14-0 surge before running out of time, allowing the 49ers (8-3) to escape with the victory.
UTEP held Long Beach to 29.5 percent (18-61) from the floor and forced 24 turnovers, but it was doomed by some issues of its own. The Miners committed a season-high 26 giveaways and shot 31.3 percent (15-48), in addition to enduring a 38.1 percent effort (8-21) at the charity stripe.
Jenzel Nash tallied 13 points to pace the Miners, who slipped to 47-5 under head coach Keitha Adams when holding foes to less than 50 points. Junior Sparkle Taylor pitched in seven points-all in the final 2:56 of the contest- to buoy Nash while Cameasha Turner pitched in five points.
“Long Beach State has a really good defensive team,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “They mixed their defenses a lot, but we just weren’t very good tonight. We really struggled. I thought we played hard to the end but I’m very frustrated tonight.”
Neither squad could get anything going in the opening quarter, which resulted in a 7-7 tie through 10 minutes. LBSU outscored UTEP, 16-8, in the second frame to put the Miners in a 23-15 halftime deficit. The Beach slowly but surely extended their advantage in the second half, with the difference swelling to the aforementioned 21 points.
The Orange and Blue didn’t fold up shop, though. Lawna Kennedy got things going with a jumper. Freshman Wiktoria Zapart then blocked a shot to spring fellow classmate Najala Howell on a fastbreak lay-up. Taylor then took over by scoring the game’s next seven points while the Miners continued to get stops at the other end.
Howell put a cap on the sensational sequence to close the contest with a long triple from the corner. The Miners forced one more turnover but they were unable to knock down a shot before time expired.
UTEP will wrap up play at the Long Beach Classic when it locks up with Mountain West foe UNLV.
Author: UTEP Athletics