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UTEP slides past Old Dominion to clinch share of C-USA title

Angel Ulloa

Cameasha Turner dropped 18 points and recorded seven rebounds in the Miners’ 70-64 victory over Old Dominion to keep their undefeated (15-0) home record alive. With the win, the Miners clinched at least a share of the Conference USA championship.

In support of breast cancer awareness, the Miners suited up in pink to play against Old Dominion in the “play for kay” game at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners got off to a quick start after tip off with their up-tempo offense and high intensity defense. In the first quarter alone, Starr Breedlove and Turner each recorded two steals. The Miners have been preparing for this game and knew the importance of executing on the defensive side of the ball.  They held ODU to 34.5 percent (19-55) shooting from the floor, while also forcing 19 turnovers throughout the game.

“Defense wins games and that’s what we’re most proud of,” Breedlove said.

Going into the second half, the Miners led with a 10-point lead. Old Dominion fought from behind and put up a relentless 18-6 run to bring themselves back within three points in the fourth quarter. With Breedlove and Tamara Seda scoring exceptionally from the charity stripe, the Miners managed to keep there composure and get the win.

“It feels great to get the win,” Coach Adams said. “What this team has done is play with a lot of heart and I’m just really proud of them.”

Despite the hype about Old Dominion’s Jennie Simms being a scoring machine, the Miners managed to contain her and take her out of her element. Holding the C-USA leading scorer to 4-11 from the field and forcing her to turn the ball over four times served as a great accomplishment for Coach Adams and the Miners.

“I think we did a very good job at guarding her today and making her earn everything she got,” Adams said. “She’s had games where she scores 30 plus points. She’s a really dynamic scorer.”

Turner’s 18 points led the team. This game meant a lot to her because not only was it one of her last home games, but also her family came to see her in for the first time in the Don Haskins Center.

“Her family is here for the first time to see her play,” Adams said. “I know that gave her extra motivation.”

Everything seemed to be working for the Miners’ win over ODU. Not only was the team playing shut down defense and scoring at will, they also got a lot of help from the bench.  The Miners’ bench combined for a whopping 25 points and 14 rebounds.  Sparkle Taylor had an exceptional performance with 14 points, three rebounds and two steals off the bench.

“She (Taylor) is a walking 20 points that just what Sparkle does,” Turner said.

The Miners next game will be against UNC Charlotte Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2pm.  This will be the Miners’ last home game of the season.  The Miners can outright claim the conference with a win against Charlotte.  This game will be the senior game and emotions will be expressed because it will be the last home game for the seniors’ college careers.

Charles Desouza may be reached at [email protected] 

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UTEP slides past Old Dominion to clinch share of C-USA title