LONG BEACH, Calif. – Sparkle Taylor came off the bench to pour in a season-high 19 points, and UTEP gave UNLV fits with its defense in 60-52 victory to close out play at the 2015 Long Beach Classic Saturday evening.
The Miners (9-1) won the rebounding battle (46-41), held the Lady Rebels (7-3) to 31.7 percent (19-60) from the floor and forced 21 turnovers to pick up an impressive victory less than 24 hours after sustaining their first setback of the season.
“It was a great bounce-back win,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “This was a great team victory, and the bench did an outstanding job. I’m very proud of the team.”
Lulu McKinney contributed 12 points from the pine to join Taylor in double figures while Tamara Seda equaled her career high (eight points) in her second career start. Cameasha Turner pitched in five points while pulling down eight boards to pace the Miners in that department. Jenzel Nash flirted with a double-double (seven points, seven boards). Taylor also got after it on the glass with six while freshman Najala Howell pitched in five points and five boards (career high) in 19 minutes of action.
UTEP’s benched outscored the Lady Rebels, 39-3.
UNLV jumped out to an early 9-4 advantage (6:08 1Q) before the Orange and Blue took over. They peeled off 12 consecutive points to grab a 16-9 advantage through 10 minutes of action. Turner got things going by draining a long triple, which was followed by a trey from McKinney. Howell then sunk a pair of free throws, which was followed by consecutive lay-ups by McKinney and Howell.
The Lady Rebels halted the sequence with a lay-up on their first possession of the second quarter before the Miners ripped off eight straight points to grab a 13-point (24-11) lead with 3:40 to play. The advantage was 12 (28-16) at the break.
The Miners played one of their best quarters of the season to start the second half. UTEP nailed 61.5 percent (8-13) of its shots in the period-while holding the Lady Rebels to 18.8 percent (3-16). The result was a 20-10 difference in the stanza, giving the Miners a seemingly insurmountable 48-26 lead heading to the start of the fourth quarter.
The difference remained 22 (60-38) with 5:04 to play in the contest. Undeterred the Lady Rebels dug deep and played their finest basketball of the evening. They scored 14 consecutive points to make UTEP sweat a bit down the stretch, but it proved to be too little too late.
The Miners will now take a break for Christmas before returning to action at home in the non-conference finale against Eastern New Mexico at 7 p.m. MST on Dec. 28.
Author: UTEP Athletics