Behind the first double-double in the career of Adhel Tac, UTEP picked up an impressive 68-59 victory at Kansas City on Sunday afternoon in the Swinney Center.
Tac, a sophomore from Garland, Texas, set career highs with 11 points and 10 rebounds in what marked the first start of her collegiate career.
“That’s just amazing that the kid comes in of the bench – we just put her in the starting lineup – and she performs at that level,” UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker said. “She did a lot of things that don’t show up on the box score. She really guarded a lot of their screen actions very, very well. She understood what they were trying to do. The 11 points and 10 rebounds is terrific but she did a lot of things that you’ll never see on the box score that I’m really proud of too.”
After trailing at the end of the first quarter, the Miners (2-0) jumped on top of the Roos (2-1) on an Eliana Cabral basket to start the second to make it a 17-16 game. UTEP would never trail again the rest of the way.
Cabral’s jumper was part of a 14-7 stretch in favor of UTEP at the onset of the second. Grace Alvarez capped the run with a 3-pointer to make it 30-23 Miners with 5:36 remaining before the break.
The biggest push for Kansas City came towards the beginning of the fourth quarter, with the Roos rattling off seven straight points to turn a double-digit deficit into a four-point game at 61-57 with 4:25 left.
Following a UTEP timeout, the Miners would respond with buckets by Tac and Mahri Petree to rebuild the lead back up to eight. KC would never cut the lead to less than five the rest of the way.
Four Miners reached double figures in the win, led by Avery Crouse with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Tac tallied her 11 points and was joined by Jazion Jackson and Soleil Montrose in double digits, as the newcomers each put up 10 points.
After racking up six steals in the season opener, Jackson added three more on Sunday.
In her first game as a Miner, Oklahoma State transfer N’Yah Boyd had eight points and seven boards.
UTEP went 24-of-68 (35.3 percent) from the floor and 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from distance while holding KC to a 24-of-61 (39.3 percent) clip from the field.
Sunday marked the second consecutive game that the Miners have forced more than 20 turnovers by the opposition, as the Roos were forced into 21 resulting in 19 points off turnovers.
“I was really impressed with our press today,” Baker said. “I think the press sort of kept them very disorganized and wouldn’t let them get into their normal offensive sets that they like to run. I thought our overall team defense was good too. I think the main thing that sticks out in my mind defensively is setting the tone early by taking all of those charges and sort of sending the message that we were going to be in rotation and that we were going to put you in foul trouble, which they were. I think that impacted the game a lot because they had some of their better players out. Really pleased with the team defense overall.”
Carrying a 2-0 record, UTEP returns to the Don Haskins Center on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. for a date with Texas Southern.