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UTEP falls to ACU on the second day of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic

Gaby Velasquez

The UTEP women’s basketball (2-3) comeback fell just short against the undefeated Abilene Christian Wildcats (6-0), 69-70, Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center in the seventh-annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic.

“I thought our team got a lot better today,” head coach Kevin Baker said. “I was really impressed with the how we battled as a team. Our chemistry got better, we moved the ball so much better than we did yesterday. Really impressed with our team, we really deserved to win the game but sometimes basketball doesn’t go that way sometimes the ball bounces a little funny.”

In the first half, the Wildcats shot 56 percent from the three-point line, nailing 8-of-15.

UTEP was outscored in the first quarter only scoring eight points whereas ACU jumped out the gate and scored 23 points.

UTEP would go and flip the script in the second quarter, outscoring the Wildcats 22-14. UTEP shot 69 percent nailing nine of their thirteen attempts. Whereas ACU shot 50 percent from the field. Before the half UTEP went on a quick 6-0 run to chip into the Wildcats lead.

UTEP would continue their strong scoring from the second quarter in the third quarter outscoring ACU, 20-12.

To start the fourth quarter, both teams would exchange baskets to tie the game or take the lead. Every time UTEP brought the game to one point. ACU would respond with a three. The lead would change seven times and the score was tied three times in the fourth quarter alone. UTEP had a one point lead with 23 seconds left  on the clock. ACU’s Breanna Wright nailed her two free throw attempts to give the Wildcats a one point lead. UTEP then called a timeout with 13 seconds remaining. Out of the timeout Gill shot a three-point attempt that missed as the clock expired.

“I don’t think they had a field goal in the last minute and a half, they got to the free throw line both times,” Baker said. “We got to learn how to guard people in close moments without fouling, if we could do that well be okay. We’re one inbound pass away from winning the game.”

ACU shot 50 percent from the three-point line, going 14-0f-28 from behind the arc.

UTEP had a total of 24 assists on 31 field goals. UTEP had 15 assists alone in the second half. Four Miners tied for the team-high in assists, senior forward Jordan Alexander, junior forward Zuzanna Puc, junior guard Neidy Ocuane, and sophomore guard Jordan Jenkins.  ACU did outrebounded the Miners on the glass by six, 29-23. UTEP shot 53 percent from the field and led ACU on points off turnovers, 24-11, UTEP had nine turnovers compared to the Wildcats 17.

“To us we were just going to make them one dimensional, make them survive on threes,” Baker said. “The threes were disheartening at times but for a while that’s all they were shooting and if that’s all you’re going to shoot then it’s hard to win games. Our goal was to continue to make them shoot threes but maybe contest them a little bit better.”

Junior forward Ariona Gill led all Miners with a team-high of 22 points, Pec chipped in 18 and junior guard Katarina Zec added 11 points. They were the only three Miners that scored in double digits.

The Wildcats had four players score in double digit figures as they were led by sophomore guard Dominique Golightly as she had 18 points.

“Don’t look back, keep going forward,” Gill said. “The game is over we can’t do nothing to fix it just keep moving and get ready for Weber State.”



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About the Contributors
Daniel Mendez, Staff reporter
Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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UTEP falls to ACU on the second day of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic