File photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | UTEP Athletics

UTEP rallies to ends regular season with 71-68 win at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – UTEP women’s basketball (16-7, 13-5 C-USA) notched a come-from-behind victory on the road as the Miners defeated Charlotte (9-8, 8-4 C-USA), 71-68, on Saturday at Halton Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

With 7:30 remaining in the fourth, the Miners found themselves down by eight to the 49ers, but UTEP rallied to outscore Charlotte, 20-9, the rest of the way and clinch the road victory.

Avery Crouse converted on the And-1 to tie the game at 59-59 with just over five minutes to play, followed by Arina Khlopkova making one of two free throws to give UTEP the lead a minute later. From there, the Miners never trailed and held off a late push by the 49ers to come away with the victory.

The Miners shot 45 percent (27-of-60) from the floor in the victory, while UTEP was 5-of-10 (50 pct.) from beyond the arc. The Miners shot 70.6 percent from the free-throw line (12-of-17), including going 8-of-11 on free throws late in the fourth to close out the win.

Isis Lopes led the way for the Miners, scoring 19 (7-11 FG) with the help of a 3-for-5 effort from three-point range. Fifteen of Lopes’ 19 points came in the fourth quarter, while she also added three rebounds in the game.

Destiny Thurman scored a career-high 15 points in the win, while also notching a rebound and two steals. Michelle Pruitt also reached double figures with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. DejaNae Roebuck also contributed eight points to help lead UTEP to victory.

UTEP jumped out to a 10-point lead in the second quarter, its biggest of the game, and held off a late Charlotte run to enter the half with a 33-32 lead. The 49ers came out of the break and shot nearly 70 percent in the third quarter to regain the lead, 53-49, but the Miners held Charlotte to 5-of-15 from the field in the fourth to claim the road win.

Charlotte edged the Miners on the boards, 27-24, in the game, while UTEP used a great performance from its bench to outscore the 49ers, 35-8, in that category. The 49ers were 25-of-47 (53.2 pct.) from the field and 6-of-12 (50 pct.) from three-point range. Charlotte shot 12-of-22 (54.5 pct.) from the free-throw line.

For the second straight game, two players reached double figures for Charlotte with Mariah Linney leading all scorers with 24 points to go along with two rebounds. Octavia Jett-Wilson added 23 points, six rebounds and two assists. She also had five blocks in the game.

Next up, UTEP will wait to learn its seeding for the 2021 Air Force Reserve C-USA Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Frisco. The tournament is set to begin on Tuesday, March 9 and run through Saturday, March 13 in Frisco, Texas.

The brackets for this year’s Championships, including seeds and tipoff times, will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season on Saturday, March 6.

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 click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.