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Women’s basketball routs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69-49

Sergio Muñoz

The UTEP women’s basketball team used a strong second and third quarter to go along with good defensive play to get past visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69-49 and move to 2-0 on the season.

The Miners outscored the Islanders 14-6 in the second quarter and 21-10 in the third while holding the Islanders to just 31.1 percent shooting form the floor.

UTEP head coach Kevin Baker’s first words of the postgame presser commended the veteran head coach of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Royce Chadwick.

“I’m the biggest Royce Chadwick fan on earth,” Baker said. “I used to go as a high school coach and watch his teams practice everyday, I would take notes on everything he said and did and to coach against him today was an honor.”

Chadwick is in his sixth season with the Islanders women’s basketball program and has compiled a record of 63-81 since he began there. Most of Chadwick’s success came at Stephen F. Austin where he went 173-44 (.797) with seven straight NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons with the Ladyjacks.

Baker who has learned so much from Chadwick, can now say he has defeated one of his many teams.

“I thought it was a complete game and probably our best game from start to finish all year,” Baker said. “We practiced really hard this week. We put in a lot of effort to prepare, and I thought it paid off in a really, really big way for our team.”

UTEP’s Najala Howell led all scorers with 19 points from a 70 percent (7-of-10) shooting night from the floor to go along with seven assists. The Miners as a team shot 54.3 percent from the floor and 50 percent (4-of-8) from behind the arc.

“My teammates did a good job of setting me up, they moved the ball really well,” Howell said.

Coming off a career-high of 20 points in the opening win of the season against CSU Bakersfield, Senior forward Tamara Seda notched 11 points and five boards.

“We founded our strength (defense) against them today,” Seda said. “If we keep it up we are going to have great games.”

The Miners started slow as the Islanders jumped out to a quick 5-0 and 10-4 lead with seven of their first 10 points coming off three UTEP turnovers. However, UTEP had the answer with a 9-0 run to take their first lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter and never trailed again, cruising to the 20-point victory.

Four different Miners grabbed at least five rebounds, with Sophomore forward Jakeira Ford leading the way with six.

Issues for the Miners tonight in the win was free throw shooting and rebounding.

Although UTEP won the total rebounding margin by eight (38-30), the Islanders earned 12 offensive boards, which earned them 14-second chance points.

“We got to get better at rebounding for sure but I was happy with the way we were able to get to the line, I would rather talk about that than the misses,” Baker said. “That was a credit to what we were running, we ran inside a lot and did the things we wanted to do which means we were going to get fouled.”

The Miners shot just 60 percent from the free throw line (15-25) while the Islanders got to the line just 10 times (7-10) to the Miners 25.

“I was more pleased that we were able to keep the other team off the line rather than us getting to the line,” Baker said. “We play a different style of defense and we stay in the lane and make people try and beat us over the top so we’re not going to foul much anyway.”

UTEP (2-0) will head back to the practice court this week to prepare for the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-1) on Friday, Nov. 24, in the first game of the sixth-annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center.

New Mexico State (1-2) and Texas Southern (0-2) will also be in the classic with the Miners meeting the Tigers in the second game on Saturday, Nov. 25. UTEP will not face rival New Mexico State in the classic as the two will meet on Dec. 10 in Las Cruces.

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Jeremy Carranco
Jeremy Carranco, Sports Editor
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Women’s basketball routs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69-49