Women’s basketball take down Lumberjacks for biggest win in school history

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

The UTEP women’s basketball team made history tonight as they defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 92-43, the 49-point win is the largest margin of victory in school history against another Division I team, surpassing a 46-point win over Texas Pan American in 2006.

The Miners who defeated the Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 16, posted for the first time in school history back-to-back victories with a 45-point margin or more. Miners win against the Wildcats is now the third largest in school history.

“It was a good night for us,” said head coach Keitha Adams. “Anytime we can play everybody, play our young players and newcomers, it’s really good for us down the road. It was a great team win. There was that great comradery.”

The Miners only allowed the lumberjacks to score four points in the last 4:07 of the first half. That defensive effort carried onto the second half.

It was the first time in school history that Miners have led by a 25-plus margin at the half in back-to-back games. Senior forward Kayla Thornton scored all of her 12 points in the first half.

In the second half, the Miners battled and bolted to 13-4 run to extend their lead to 58-24. They led by as much as 51 in the night.

The starters for the Miners only needed to play 10 minutes of the second half, since the game was out of reach for the Lumberjacks.

Sophomore guard Anete Kirsteine played for her home country of Latvia tonight. She represented her country by wearing a ribbon of her flag colors.

On Thursday, the rooftop of a supermarket collapsed and killed 51 people in her hometown Riga, Latvia.

“This game was for those families back home. It’s a big tragedy for a small country like ours. All the points I scored in this game were definitely for back home,” Kirsteine said.

All 15 of her points came from beyond the arc, as she nailed five out of her nine attempts in the game and led the team in points.

Tonight the Miners forced 29 turnovers, 63 in the last two games combined.

“The chemistry (on the team) is great. The five starters create the momentum and the rest of the team carries it on for us,” Thornton said. “It’s been fun these past games scoring high numbers and it’s because we’ve been working together.”

Apart from her 12 points, Thornton tallied five rebounds and four steals tonight.

“When you’re not thinking about yourself, but thinking about your teammates, that’s what the girls are displaying and I’m really proud of that,” Adams said.

There were four Miners in doubles figures in this game, Kirsteine (15), Thornton (12), sophomore guard Irene Gari (12) and senior center Kristine Vitola (10).

The Miners will try to go 5-0 on Wednesday when they host Northern Colorado at the Don Haskins Center.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]