UTEP’s Jenzel Nash / File Photo
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Trailing 30-18 with 7:57 to play in the second quarter, UTEP outscored high-flying FAU, 60-36, the rest of the way to come away with a 78-66 road victory Thursday evening.
The Miners seventh consecutive win moves them to 15-1 overall on the year, marking the best start in program history. UTEP also improves to 6-0 in Conference USA play, including 3-0 on the road. The Owls (10-7, 2-4 C-USA)
Jenzel Nash (17 points, eight boards, four steals), Cameasha Turner (16 points, five rebounds, three assists) and Starr Breedlove (15 points, five assists, five steals) all logged 30+ minutes to lead the way for the Orange and Blue.
Sparkle Taylor came off the bench to tally 14 points and grab three rebounds in an efficient 21 minutes of action while veteran Chrishauna Parker showed tremendous poise with six points and seven boards. RS-sophomore post Tamara Seda matched her career high for both points (eight) and rebounds (seven) in a career-high 25 minutes.
“I thought we felt pretty good at halftime to be tied up, especially after we dug ourselves that hole,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We really started off rough. We tried to play a little bit differently than we have in the past. It was a hard-fought win against a good team. Not only do they shoot it well but they play hard. I tip my hat to them.”
FAU opened up on fire, bolting out to a 7-0 lead just 1:30 into the contest. The homestanding Owls, playing in front of a rowdy crowd, pushed the cushion out to 23-14 through 10 minutes. The margin swelled to 12 (30-18) with 7:57 left, before the Miners started to kick things into gear.
UTEP ripped off 11 straight points, with Nash, Breedlove and Turner doing the heavy lifting before FAU’s Ali Gorrell, who put up 20 points, 12 boards and five assists, halted the sequence with a pair of free throws. To its credit, UTEP struck back and managed to pull even at 39 heading to halftime.
The Miners continued to have the momentum in the third quarter, using a 24-13 10-minute sequence to grab control for good. FAU refused to go away quietly, getting within seven (67-60) with 5:54 to play before back-to-back lay-ups by Parker and Turner reinstated order.
UTEP nailed 50.0 percent (36-72) of its shots, won the boards (41-34) while forcing 21 turnovers that led to 22 points. The Miners also pounded the Owls down low, 52-32, and managed to keep the best three-point shooting team in the league to 6-20 from distance.
The Miners can’t rest on their laurels, though, with a quick turnaround by playing at FIU 2 p.m. MST Saturday. Fans can listen live to the call, with Brandon Cohn on the call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio.