Miners defeat Gaels, advance to WNIT regional semis

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

The UTEP women’s basketball team once again in a close game came out on top and defeated the Saint Mary’s Gaels 76-64 in the second round of the WNIT.

With the Miners have earned the right to host another WNIT game as they will take on the Colorado Buffaloes in the regional semifinals Friday at 7 p.m., at the Don Haskins Center.

In the final six minutes of the game, the Miners scored 17 points. Fourteen of those points came from the free-throw line. The lone field goal in that span was a three-point field goal by senior forward Kristine Vitola. She chipped in nine points and six rebounds.

The night belonged to all the Miners who made their free throws. The Miners made 25 free-throws while the Gaels made 16 and went 19 percent from three.

“We beat a really good team today. We mixed up our defenses. We went to a 1-3-1. For us to hold them to 64 points is really good. We’re lucky we held them to just four threes,” said head coach Keitha Adams.

The Miners led 35-28 at the midway point.

The teams exchanged buckets for a couple minutes. Then the Gaels went on an 18-9 run with 8:45 remaining in the second half to go up 46-44. The Miners counterpunch was a 12-3 run and a 10-point lead with six to play. This is where the free-throws came.

The Miners outrebounded the Gaels by a 42-34 advantage. That margin came from the offensive end. Junior forward Chrishauna Parker ferociously pulled down 12 rebounds and added 12 points to complete the double-double.

“My rebounds always get me going. I think it gets the whole team going,” Parker said. “The team is amplified by its home-crowd. They play off of the energy and it results in victories. We’re having too much fun out there.”

The rported attendance for the game was 4,700, a support that Parker appreciates.

“Our fans are everything to us. We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing if it weren’t for our fans,” said Parker.”

A win against the Buffaloes will push the Miners to the regional final to face either the Oregon Ducks or the San Diego Toreras.

Luis Barrio may be reached @Luis_Barrio17 and [email protected]