RUSTON, La. – UTEP women’s basketball (8-5, 5-3 C-USA) completed the weekend sweep over Louisiana Tech (9-5, 4-4 C-USA) with a 75-67 win over the Lady Techsters on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,200 in attendance at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston.
Despite trailing early in the game, UTEP had the hot hands in the second half, shooting an incredible 75 percent from the field (15-of-20) in the third and fourth quarters to out-score LA Tech, 47-32, in the final two periods.
The sweep over LA Tech marks the first time a UTEP team has notched back-to-back wins over the Lady Techsters in one season since the 2015-16 campaign. Prior to this weekend, LA Tech was 7-1 against the Miners when playing on their home court.
Five different players reached double-digits in the victory and Avery Crouse led the charge for the second night in a row with a team-high 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Katia Gallegos added 12 points, six assists and three steals, while DejaNae Roebuck (11 pts., 7 rebounds), Destiny Thurman (11 points, 3 rebounds) and Michelle Pruitt (10 pts., 5 rebounds) also reached double figures in the road victory.
It was a tale of two halves as the Miners shot just two free throws in the first half alone and was 12-of-30 from the field. But in the third and fourth quarters, UTEP went 15-for-18 from the free-throw line and shot 75 percent, while the defense stood tall, holding LA Tech to just five rebounds in the entire second half.
In the second quarter, both teams traded shots and there were six lead changes just one minute into the period. The Lady Techsters won the turnover battle early on with the Miners giving the ball away 11 times compared to six by LA Tech in the first half. LA Tech also used an 8-0 run and a two-minute scoring drought by UTEP to head into halftime with a 35-28 lead.
UTEP came out ready to play in the third as the Miners shot 72.7 percent from the field (8-of-11) to out-score LA Tech, 25-20, before heading to the final quarter.
In the fourth, the Miners had even more success, going 7-of-9 from the field (77.8 pct.) and 7-of-10 on free throws to mount the comeback. UTEP took the lead for the first time in the game just a minute into the fourth and eliminated an 11-point deficit, opening the quarter on an 11-0 run. In all, the Miners executed a 20-point swing in the fourth quarter.
LA Tech refused to go away, though, with the Lady Techsters going on an 8-0 run to cut the UTEP lead to 65-64, but the Miners were clutch at the free throw line down the stretch and out-scored Tech, 10-3, over the final two minutes.
As a team, LA Tech shot 47.8 percent from the field (22-of-46), while the Lady Techsters were led by Anna Larr Roberson, who led all scorers with 20 points.
Next up, UTEP will host UTSA on Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MT. The Miners will then travel to San Antonio to take on the Roadrunners on Saturday, Jan. 30 to close out the weekend.
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