Senior Agata Dobrowolska posted her first career double-double (15 points, 14 rebounds) to lead the UTEP women’s basketball team to an emotional 71-65 win at I-10 rival NM State Saturday afternoon. The Miners (7-0) won the boards (43-38), forced 20 Aggie (6-2) turnovers and made clutch shots late to hand the home side its first loss in Las Cruces this year.
The victory affords the Miners a start of at least 7-0 start for the second time in three years and fourth occasion overall in program history.
Dobrowolska was joined in double digits for scoring by Jenzel Nash (16 points), Cameasha Turner (13 points) and Starr Breedlove (12 points). Lulu McKinney pitched in seven points, including a clutch three pointer with 47 seconds remaining to break the fourth and final tie of the tilt.
NM State, which trailed by as many as 14 points (18-4, 5:50 1Q) did well to battle back behind 11 three pointers. The Aggies managed to pull ahead, 62-61, with 1:59 to play but Breedlove used a teardrop shot to make the Miners’ first second-half deficit of the season short lived.
The biggest shot of the day, however, belonged to McKinney. With the game tied at 63 and the shot clock starting to wind down, McKinney launched the long triple that was nothing but nets to silence the crowd. Breedlove was credited with an assist on the play, one of her game and career-high eight on the day.
After the two sides traded free throws, Nash broke loose for an uncontested lay-up to give the Miners a 69-65 advantage with 17 seconds left. NM State missed a three pointer on its next possession and Turner iced the contest with two charity stripe tosses.
“We just kept playing hard and battled through,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “NM State has a good club. I’m very proud of the team for the great road win.”
UTEP shot 42.6 percent (29-of-68) from the floor and committed only 15 turnovers against a relentless full-court NM State press. The Miners played with the lead for 35:50 while the contest was tied for 3:46.
NM State was paced by 15 points from Abby Scott while Sasha Weber and Brooke Salas each chipped in 10 points apiece.
UTEP pounced on the Aggies early, scoring the first nine points of the contest to help it stake an 18-4 advantage with 5:50 to play in the first quarter. The cushion was 12 (21-9) with 3:51 remaining in the quarter before the Aggies roared back behind four straight three pointers (three by Scott).
A lay-up by Dobrowolska, whose previous career high was five points on three occasions, halted the sequence. Weber drilled a jumper to tie the tilt at 23 after 10 minutes of action. Adams challenged her squad to tighten up defensively in the second stanza, and the Miners responded.
UTEP peeled off 13 straight points to start the frame. The Miners wound up outscoring NM State, 18-9, in the period to grab a 41-32 lead at the half. UTEP’s defense helped offset sluggish shooting in the third quarter, allowing it to be up by six (50-44) to start the final quarter.
The home side made several runs at the Miners in the fourth quarter, but UTEP had an answer each time en route to picking up its seventh win in as many tries this year.
UTEP will take a break for finals week before welcoming UTPB to the Don Haskins Center for a game at 7:05 p.m. MST on Dec. 14.
Author: UTEP Athletics