UTEP falls short of another fourth quarter comeback against NMSU

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UTEP falls short of another fourth quarter comeback against NMSU

Junior forward Zuzanna Puc  attempts to NMSat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17. during the 4th quarter.

Junior forward Zuzanna Puc attempts to NMSat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17. during the 4th quarter.

Gaby Velasquez

Junior forward Zuzanna Puc attempts to NMSat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17. during the 4th quarter.

Gaby Velasquez

Gaby Velasquez

Junior forward Zuzanna Puc attempts to NMSat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17. during the 4th quarter.

Daniel Mendez, Sports Editor

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The UTEP women’s basketball team fell short of another fourth-quarter comeback as they lose their first game of the season against the New Mexico State Aggies, 69-65, Saturday afternoon, at the Don Haskins Center.

UTEP is now 2-1 on the young season and the Aggies are now 3-0, NMSU leads the all-time series 50-37.

“We didn’t start out well, I mean that 18 to eight in the first quarter, where we just didn’t shoot the ball very well and got ourselves in a little bit of a hole, “ said head coach Kevin Baker. “I thought that was the difference in the game.”

The Aggies would close out the first quarter on an 18-5 run after UTEP junior guard Katarina Zec scored the opening three points of the game. As UTEP came out slow to start the first period missing 11 of their 13 shot attempts. 

The Miners outscored the Aggies in the second quarter, 14-12. UTEP was trailing by as many by 10 points in the second quarter. UTEP was able to go into the half down by eight.

The Aggies committed six turnovers and shot 5-of-14 from the field. UTEP struggled to score in the second quarter shooting 4-of-14 from the field, at one point UTEP suffered a scoring drought of over four minutes and change till junior forward Zuzanna Puc scored two of her game-high 17 points. UTEP dug into the lead by nailing five of their nine free throw attempts.

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  • The starting line up is introduced pre-game.at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • The Lady Miners discuss the game plan pre-game at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Junior guard Katarina Zec is introduced pre-game at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Paydirt Pete shakes hands with Head Coach Kevin Baker pre-game.at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Junior guard Ariona Gill is introduced pre-game at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Junior forward Zuzanna Puc attempts to NMSU during the 4th quarterat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Junior forward Zuzanna Puc attempts to NMSat a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17. during the 4th quarter.

  • the Aggies celebrate as junior guard Katarina Zec trips as they win the battle of I-10.

  • NMSU defense is fouled at a game against UTEP on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Don Haskins Center.

  • The Lady Miners discuss the game plan during a media time out at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • NMSU guard Gia Pack is fouled at the battle of I-10 against the UTEP Miners. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker tells his team to shoot during the free throws at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Paydirt Pete dances as the Cheerleaders run around in a circle. during a media time out.

  • Junior guard Ariona Gill throws the ball in at a game against the NMSU Aggies on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • Junior guard Ariona Gill attempst to make a basket over the NMSU Aggies.

  • Junior point guard Neidy Ocuane attempts to run past the NMSU defender.

  • Head Cach Kevin Baker celebrates as the MIners score.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker displayed his frustration as the Miners lost to NMSU in the Battle of I-10.

  • Sophomore guard Alexa Hoy drives to the hole at a game against the NMSU Aggies.

  • Junior guard Katarina Zec attempts to run past the NMSU defender.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker displayed his frustration as the Miners lost to NMSU in the Battle of I-10.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker displayed his frustration as the Miners lost to NMSU in the Battle of I-10.

  • Senior guard/forward Jordan Alexander attempts to run past the NMSU defender.

  • Sophomore point guard Jordan Jenkins calls out a play during a game against theNMSU Aggies.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker displayed his frustration as the Miners lost to NMSU in the Battle of I-10.

  • Head Coach Kevin Baker displayed his frustration as the Miners lost to NMSU in the Battle of I-10.

  • Junior guard Katarina Zec talks to Assitant Coach Michael Madrid during a timeout.

  • Alexa Hoy scored a career-high of 13 points.

  • Alexa Hoy scored a career-high of 13 points.

  • Jade Rochelle finished the game with one rebound.

  • Zuzanna Puc gets the and-one opportunity as she had her second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

  • Jordan Jenkins struggled as she finished with 0 points.

  • Jordan Jenkins struggled as she finished with 0 points.

  • NMSU head Coach Brooke Atkinson yelled at the hee team to get back on defense.

  • Zuzanna Puc and Neidy Ocuane high five as she finished with five points.

  • Alexa Hoy led all Miners with 13 points.

  • Alexa Hoy will enter the transfer portal and depart from the UTEP women's basketball program.

    File Photo

  • Zuzanna Puc gets the and-one opportunity as she had her second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

  • Neidy Ocuane had a team-high of three assists.

  • Neidy Ocuane had a team-high of three assists.

  • Ariona Gill was the second leading scorer with 13 points.

  • Neidy Ocuane had a team-high of three assists.

  • Jordan Alexander finished with one point.

  • Jordan Jenkins looks upset on the bench.

  • Zuzanna Puc leads all miners with a double-double.

  • Neidy Ocuane had a team-high of three assists.

  • The Miners play defense on the person driving to the hole.

  • The Miners play defense on the person driving to the hole.

“We started to play our game pretty late,” Puc said. “But we tried to catch up and do our best to execute and to improve especially after halftime when we saw what we were missing and what we needed to improve.”

Coming out of the half, New Mexico State capitalized on points off turnovers, with seven points off the Miners five turnovers in the third quarter. The Aggies also shot 44 percent from the field compared to UTEP’s 41 percent. UTEP struggled to score in the third period missing seven of their 12 shot attempts. The way UTEP was able to chip into the Aggies lead was by shooting 50 percent from the free throw line, 5-of-10.

In the fourth quarter, sophomore transfer guard Alexa Hoy scored four quick points for the Miners to cut the Aggies lead to four. NMSU called a timeout to regroup, out of the timeout NMSU’s Western Athletic Conference reigning player of the week senior guard Brooke Salas scored a jumper to bring the lead back to six.

Puc would respond with a three of her own to bring the Miners within three, senior guard Monique Mills responded with a three of her own, that Aggies three was the first of their eight made shots from behind the arc in the fourth quarter. The Aggies lead was extended to eight, till the Miners went on an 11-to-3 run after junior guard Neidy Ocuane drove to the paint to get the and-one opportunity. Ocuane would nail the freebie to bring the Mines within three, 50-53. The Aggies would extend their lead by nailing a free throw. Ocuane answered back by getting fouled and converting her two attempts. Brooke would nail a jumper to extend the lead to 56-52 before Hoy and Zec tied the game up at 56 after they both made their free throw attempts.

The game was tied briefly for 17 seconds before NMSU answered back with back-to-back threes of their own to put the game away. UTEP would cut the lead down to three again before NMSU would respond with a three of their own.

“We were fighting over that hump, and tied it up, “ Baker said. “I thought when we tied it up, I thought we’re in really good shape I thought we really did some good things early in the fourth. But then you got to give credit where credit is due. I thought we dared them all that long to make a perimeter shots, we dared them and they made him late. And that was ultimately that was a difference in the game when they can bury those shots late when we’re we’re pretty much trying to make them do it. And then they do it so gotta give credit them our hats off to them.”

Both teams committed 14 turnovers, but NMSU outscored UTEP on points off turnovers, 18-6. UTEP did outrebound the Aggies, 36-33.

Salas led all Aggies with 18 points and seven assists.  Mills would score two of the three shots from behind the arc to put the game away at the end, Mills finished with 11 points, which all came in the second half.

Puc led all Miners with her second consecutive double-double, she had a game-high 17 points and grabbed 10 boards. Zec and junior forward Ariona Gill were tied for second in scoring with 14 points. Gill and Ocuane each dished out a team-high three dimes. Hoy added 13 points off the bench, to give her a new career-high as a Miner.

UTEP returns to action as part of the Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. UTEP will kick off the classic when they play Nicholls State on Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m followed by facing Abilene Christian on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.

 

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