UTEP unleashed a 41-12 run to make a 12-point deficit (29-17) a distant memory on the way to a 79-71 victory against TCU in round three of the WNIT in front of a rocking crowd of 7,024 fans at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.
The Miners (29-4), who equaled the single-season school record for wins, surge into the WNIT quarterfinals to face Pacific 12 power Oregon (23-10) at the Haskins Center at 7:05 p.m. MT Monday.
Tickets are $10 (general admission) and $4 (UTEP students) and will go on sale at 9 a.m. MT Friday at the University Ticket Center. Fans may also visit TicketMaster.com or call (915) 747-5234 to purchase tickets.
The Horned Frogs (18-15) led by a dozen with nine minutes to play in the second frame before the Miners kicked things into high gear. UTEP closed the half on a 24-5 run to surge into the break up by seven (41-34) and sending the Haskins Center into pandemonium. The Miners continued to keep it rolling in the third quarter, completing the game-changing surge with a 17-4 surge to grab their largest lead (58-41) of the tilt. TCU fought back in the fourth quarter but it was far too little too late.
Starr Breedlove (21 points, eight assists), Cameasha Turner (20 points, five rebounds), Jenzel Nash (20 points, seven rebounds, four steals) and Chrishauna Parker (nine points, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Miners. It was a milestone night for Nash, who became the 12th member of UTEP’s career 1,000-point club.
“This was a great, great win for us,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “I thought we played extremely hard. TCU has some really good guards who can really shoot the basketball. They have a really good team. What has really happened here is that the city of El Paso is coming to life here in the Haskins Center and our players are really feeding off that. They’re having fun and it’s just great energy.
“They have really ignited our team. We’ve played hard all year and our signature has been our defense. This crowd getting behind it just puts fuel in the tank. These guys get going and their motors get cranked up.”
TCU got 17 points from Jada Butts; Zahna Medley added 20 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Veja Hamilton came through with 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Horned Frogs made 23 free throws but shot under 39 percent from the field. UTEP’s defense played a big part in that. After TCU shot 60 percent (9-15) in the opening quarter, it was held to 30.9 percent (13-42) the rest of the way.
UTEP shot a sizzling 50.0 percent (29-58), matching the program’s postseason record in the process, while also making 18-28 at the charity stripe. The Miners had a 17-12 advantage for points off turnovers and a 34-24 cushion for points in the paint.
The Miners also won the boards, 38-36, with Parker’s 10 leading the way in that department.
UTEP moves to 9-3 all time in postseason play, including 8-1 in the WNIT. The Miners have attracted at least 4,500 fans in all nine WNIT home games. Additionally, the Orange and Blue extend the school-record home winning streak to 19 games.
To view the pictures from Thursday night’s game, click HERE