Women’s basketball sweeps Thanksgiving Classic

Junior+Tia+Bradshaw+plays+at+the+Don+Haskins+Center+on+Oct.+26%2C+2019.

Carolina Alvarez

Junior Tia Bradshaw plays at the Don Haskins Center on Oct. 26, 2019.

Michael Cuviello, Sports Editor

The UTEP Miners finished off its second game of the Thanksgiving Classic with a down to the wire 71-69 win over the Georgia State Panthers. This victory was a strong follow up to the victory the previous day over the Western Michigan Broncos 76-46. 

Winning a third straight game now brings the Miners to a record of 6-1, the best under Head Coach Kevin Baker to date. Starting three freshmen due to an injury to the Miners best rebounder senior Ariana Gill, Baker showed high confidence in his younger players. All three first-year players rewarded that confidence scoring in double digits. 

First year swingman Arina Khlopkova led the team in scoring with 20 points to go along with five rebounds. Fellow freshman guard Katia Gallegos ended up leading the team in rebounds with eight to go along with her 11 points and four assists. Rounding out the trio of freshmen starters was guard Avery Crouse scoring 13 points along with two steals. 

UTEP overcame a sloppy first quarter, which they trailed most of the way, only trailing by a single point. The Miners took control in the second quarter taking advantage of Panther turnovers and converting them into baskets. Khlopkova ended the first half with 12 points. The Panthers finished the first half with 10 turnovers and ended up with 20 for the game. 

Leading by eight at the half, the Miners started getting beat on the boards in the third quarter.  

The Panther’s Taylor Hosendove began to take over the game dominating the boards with 19 rebounds, including seven offensiveHosendove also scored 21 points and had 10 turnovers to complete a slightly dubious triple-double. 

 The score tightened with the Miners being held to only two points through the first four minutes of the third quarter. Going into the fourth quarter the Miners only led by a couple of points 57-55 

After four minutes of play in the fourth quarter, the Panthers retook the lead with both teams going back and forth. At the 1:46 mark, Hosendove notched two free throws to tie it once again at 68. Gallegos then sprinted downcourt to score on a fastbreak to regain the lead for the Miners. Khlopkova then proceeded to make her most significant play of the night and draw a charging call on Hosendove while already having four fouls. This foul was Hosendove’s fifth and final, which resulted in her ejection from the game. Adding one more point at the foul line, Khlopkova would close it out for the Miners 71-68. 

Coach Baker played his whole available bench in the game, substituting and experimenting with different lineups all night. 

“They gave us a heck of a game out there. I’m really proud the way that we gutted out the win,” Baker said. “Our young kids really stepped up. They did fantastic. I’m not surprised. They’re all very talented. Tonight’s win showed we have the grit to be champions. This group showed today they can go that extra to get that win.” 

Khlopkova led the team in scoring in both matchups of the Thanksgiving Classic after having 14 off the bench on Friday to go with the game versus Georgia State. Leading rebounder senior forward Ariana Gill had to sit out the game due to her recurring injury to her ankle and is considered day to day.  

The Miners will take on Weber State at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Don Haskins Center. 

Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]