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Miners outrebounded when it counts, lose to UTSA

Ruby Cerino

Following a big win on the road at Southern Mississippi without head coach Keitha Adams, because of emergency oral surgery, it seemed like the Miners were primed to put up big numbers against UT-San Antonio. That proved to not be the case, even with Adams back on the sidelines, as UTEP lost to the visiting Roadrunners by a final score of 55-53.

The Roadrunners opened up the second half of Saturday’s game with three three-pointers and quickly wiped out a 26-24 UTEP halftime lead. The Miners never wavered from pounding the ball inside and were able retake the lead several times in the second half. In a game that featured the most lead changes all season with 19, the last lead change did not favor UTEP.

Despite a significant height difference the Miners were outrebounded in the game 42-39. The Miners did take advantage of their height by scoring 32 of their 53 points in the paint. They were able to dominate the inside so well that they barely needed a three-pointer in the game.

The first time they needed one, freshman guard Lulu McKinney was able to provide it. The Miners took a 44-43 lead with five minutes left in the game. This would be the only three-pointer the Miners would make off of six attempts. The Roadrunners were 4-15 from behind the arc. McKinney would miss a three as time expired to seal the Roadrunners victory.

As time wound down, both teams traded baskets and once again rebounding was the issue.

“Obviously down the stretch, those offensive boards helped them win the game,” said Adams following the game.

The Miners allowed UTSA to grab 15 offensive rebounds in the game. None was more important than the one grabbed by Roadrunner junior forward Mannasha Bell. With 12 seconds left in the game, Bell grabbed her fourth offensive rebound and scored to put the Roadrunners ahead 54-53.

Adams called a play for junior guard Cameasha Turner who drove to the basket and fell to the ground. No foul was called and UTEP would not regain the lead as the last few seconds ticked off the clock. The no call may have been a good one on this particular play, however a 22-10 disparity in free throws shot in favor of UTSA had a partisan home crowd up in arms.

After the game, Adams did not want to blame the loss solely on foul calls. As far as the disparity in free throws goes Adams would only say that she would like to “see that stat the other way around.”

It may have been a completely different outcome if that were to have happened.

The Miners return to the practice court Monday in preparation to host Western Kentucky at the Don Haskins Center on Thursday. Western Kentucky is not only first in the Conference USA standings but has also received votes to be ranked among top 25 teams in the nation.

Jason Green may be reached at [email protected].

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Miners outrebounded when it counts, lose to UTSA