UTEP women’s basketball opened up their exhibition part of their schedule with a 64-45 win over Western New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Don Haskins Center.
“I thought it was a really good scrimmage for us,” said head coach Kevin Baker postgame. “It was exactly what we needed. We’ve been playing each other for so long it felt so good to play somebody other than ourselves.”
The Miners had two players in double figures—junior forward Ariona Gill had 14 points and senior forward Jordan Alexander had 17 points to lead all Miners.
UTEP was able to jump out to a 15 point lead after the first quarter, Alexander came out strong early scoring six points. The Western New Mexico Mustangs struggled to score from the field going one-for-10. The Mustangs scored only five points in the first quarter. Junior guard Katarina Zec scored her only three points of the game in the first quarter as she struggled to stay out of foul trouble throughout the game.
“We need to learn how to play with fouls,” Baker said. “I thought there was three or four of us that got into early foul trouble they didn’t really adjust the way we were playing. Sometimes when you get in early foul trouble we have to play smarter and not take as many chances, I’m not sure we did that, but I’m really happy that happened on a Saturday scrimmage day in October. That’s where we learn that and we can address it as a coaching staff and hopefully get better.”
The Miners scoring continued in the second quarter outscoring Western New Mexico, 16-12.
In the second half, the Miners were outscored by three points to start the third quarter. UTEP was out rebounded in the third quarter as well, 10-eight. Western New Mexico guard Paulina Rodriguez lit up the Miners from behind the arc nailing all three of her attempts.
“What’s glaring to me was our inability to rebound at times,” Baker said. “We’re going to have to be better on the boards, both offensively and defensively through the course of the year.”
UTEP closed out the fourth quarter scoring 18 points. Gill, who was making her debut on the court since the last time she played two years ago led all Miners with seven points in the fourth quarter.
Other notable moments from the exhibition
Junior guard Jade Rochelle came off the bench and scored six points while leading the Miners in rebounds with eight. Junior guard Neidy Ocuane, who was one of two redshirts from last years team were inserted in coach Baker’s starting five—Gill, Alexander, Zec, and junior Zuzanna Puc were the remaining starters for the Miners. Gill was the other redshirt from last season.
UTEP edged out Western New Mexico of bench points and fast break points, 13 and 23 respectively. The Mines finished the game with 11 assists and shot 47 percent from the field.