Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | El Paso Herald Post
DENTON, Texas – Ariona Gill (16 points) and Avery Crouse (15 points) each hit double figures in scoring, but UTEP came up short in the regular-season finale at North Texas 68-58, Saturday evening.
“We didn’t play well enough to win tonight,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They played better than us.”
Katia Gallegos added five points while dishing out four assists to bring her bring her season total to a UTEP freshman record 146 assists on the year. She breaks the prior standard held by Shalana Taylor (142, 2004-05).
The Miners (15-14, 8-10 C-USA) won the boards (34-33) and forced 26 turnovers, but were doomed by shooting 36.4 percent (20-55) from the floor. Another key factor was the Mean Green (12-18, 6-12 C-USA) connecting on 51.9 percent (13-26) of their shots.
UTEP led by one (34-33) at the half but UNT outscored the Orange and Blue 35-24 after the break to pull away for the win. The third quarter was particularly decisive, with the Mean Green outpacing UTEP by eight (18-10) in the frame.
Katarina Zec (nine points) and Michelle Pruitt (eight points) nearly reached double figures in scoring as well.
It was back-and-forth early on, with the contest tied at nine midway through the opening quarter before Gallegos found Crouse in transition for the score. The assist propelled her past Taylor for the UTEP freshman single-season record. After North Texas got going to pull ahead by three (16-13), UTEP closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to lead by two (20-18) through 10 minutes of action.
The two sides locked down defensively in the second frame and traded blows, with UTEP settling for a one-point advantage (34-33) at the half. The Miners couldn’t keep things going after the break, with North Texas outscoring them by 11 (35-24) over the final 20 minutes to pull away for the win.
UTEP will regroup and open play at the 2020 Conference USA Air Force Reserve Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star.
The Miners will be seeded seventh and will square off against 10th-seeded Florida Atlantic at 12:30 p.m. MT/1:30 p.m. CT Wednesday in the first round of the event. The winner will advance to face second-seeded Old Dominion.
For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter), @utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics .