Photo courtesy Michael Reese
Senior Katarina Zec scored a game-high 18 points to pace a quartet of players in double figures and UTEP forced 26 turnovers in an 84-64 exhibition romp against Division II Eastern New Mexico at the Don Haskins Center Saturday.
Newcomers Tatyana Modawar (15 points), Michelle Pruitt (11 points) and Avery Crouse (10 points) also reached double figures in scoring for the Miners.
UTEP connected on 46.4 percent (32-69) of its shots, including 44.4 percent (8-18) from distance. The Miners shared the ball well with 21 assists on 32 made shots, with freshman Katia Gallegos, Zec and junior transfer Tia Bradshaw all recording five helpers.
ENMU hit 47.2 percent (25-53) of its shots, but was doomed by committing 26 turnovers that led to 31 Miner points.
“The most glaring thing to me in today’s scrimmage is that the young players played so well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We had four freshmen and a sophomore on the field at the same time and made a pretty good run. So I was pretty proud of that. We played some pretty good defense today. I would have liked to have seen us get a few more stops in our half-court defense.”
Gallegos added seven points and five points, but more importantly only had one turnover in a team-high 29 minutes of action. Three different Miners posted a trio of steals while three also had five boards.
UTEP started fast, racing out to a 14-4 lead four minutes into the game. The Miners connected on a trio of triples during the surge. ENMU regrouped and whittled the lead to six (23-17) through 10 minutes of action.
It remained a six-point difference (29-23) with 5:15 to play in the half before UTEP turned it up a notch. The Miners ripped off six straight points to extend the margin to 12 (35-23) at 3:26 of the second quarter. It was back-and-forth the rest of the period, with the Orange and Blue carrying a 12-point advantage (41-29) into the break.
The Miners ripped off six straight points to start the third quarter, prompting a timeout by the visitors. ENMU eventually trimmed the margin to eight before UTEP pushed it back out to 12 (56-44) through three quarters of play. The Orange and Blue continued to control in the final frame, extending their lead to as many as 26 (82-56) at one point.
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