Michelle Pruitt | Michael Reese
The UTEP women’s basketball team raced out to an 18-point lead (28-10) after the first quarter and never looked back in a 92-47 win against Alcorn State at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.
Katarina Zec (17 points) led a quartet of Miners (3-0) in double figures for scoring in the wire-to-wire victory against the Lady Braves (0-4). Ariona Gill (14 points, game-high seven rebounds), Michelle Pruitt (13 points) and freshman Avery Crouse (career-high 10 points) buoyed fellow starter Zec.
The bench did its part too by piling up 34 points, with Ariana Taylor (nine points) setting the tone for the reserves. DejaNae Roebuck (career-high tying seven points) nearly matched Taylor.
UTEP registered 23 assists on 34 field goals, won the boards (44-26) and forced 28 turnovers that were converted into 27 points. The Miners shot 54.8 percent (34-62) from the floor, including 39.1 percent (9-23) from distance. Alcorn State was held to 32.0 percent (16-50) shooting.
It marked the third 90+ point scoring contest under head coach Kevin Baker, who has his squad off to a 3-0 start for the second time in three seasons.
“Alcorn State plays such a unique style and is very difficult to prepare for,” Baker said. “I thought our team executed and moved the ball well because if you don’t they’re going to trap you for 40 minutes. We were able to score 92 points, even withstanding 25 turnovers, because we were able to handle a lot of what they do. I’m extraordinarily proud of our team today. We did an excellent job off maintaining our spacing and ball movement, and because of that we were able to play very well.”
UTEP jumped all over Alcorn State early, vaulting to a 13-3 advantage four minutes into the game. After the two sides traded blows over the next few minutes, UTEP ripped off eight straights on the way to leading by 18 (28-10) through 10 minutes of action. It marked the Miners’ highest-scoring quarter of the young season, with UTEP shooting 68.8 percent (11-16) in the frame factoring in.
The Miners peeled nine in a row to start the second quarter much like the first, affording them a 27-point cushion (37-10) at the 7:44 mark. The Lady Braves fought back some, but UTEP’s margin was still 22 (46-34) heading into halftime.
UTEP scored 10 in a row to christen the third quarter with a bang, and Alcorn State never got closer than 30 the rest of the way.
The Miners will continue their seven-game homestand when they play host to unbeaten New Mexico in a special 11 a.m. “Education Day” game on Tuesday. There is a $10 ticket special that includes a drink and a hot dog for the matinee contest, which may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
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.