UTEP dominates UTSA 94- 54 and improves to 4-1 in Conference-USA

UTEP+women%27s+basketball+head+coach+Kevin+Baker+gives+a+thumbs+up+to+his+team+in+its+94-54+win+over+UTSA+at+the+Don+Haskins+Center.

Carolina Alvarez

UTEP women's basketball head coach Kevin Baker gives a thumbs up to his team in its 94-54 win over UTSA at the Don Haskins Center.

Isaiah Ramirez, Staff Reporter

It has been a season of significant improvement for the UTEP women’s basketball team (11-5, 4-1) and its 94-54 win over UTSA (6-10, 2-3) Saturday afternoon at the Don Haskins Center is one piece of evidence.  

UTEP has already surpassed its win total from last season (9-22) and stands amongst the leaders in Conference-USA with a 4-1 record in conference play.  

Behind a robust first half in which the Miners scored 55 points, tying the second-most first-half points in program history, UTEP never let off the gas pedal and earned its ninth win by double figures. 

The Miner’s halftime lead of 55-28 is its largest halftime lead in a league game in program history. 

I thought it was really important that we do start well especially in a Conference-USA game where every possession is important and the way we got out early was important,” head coach Kevin Baker said.  

“We really played some terrific basketball in the second quarter and extended the lead to where we could all take a little bit of a deep breath and play even better in the second half,” Baker said. 

Junior transfer forward, Michelle Pruitt earned her career doubledouble scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 boards. For the second time this season, Pruitt has grabbed 10 or more rebounds. 

Freshman guard Katia Gallegos dished out a career-high 10 assists against the Roadrunners.  Coming into Saturday’s game, Gallegos was second in Conference-USA in assists per game at 4.7. 

“I dished the ball out a lot and found our open players and as a point guard, that’s your job and I’m pretty proud of that,” Gallegos said. 

The dominating win was a total team effort with seven players scoring eight or more points and everyone on the squad chipping in at least two points. UTEP’s bench outscored UTSA’s bench 48-11.  

UTEP also won the battle of the boards outrebounding the Roadrunners 5334. 

“We compete in practice and two things that really stand out about to me about this team is sharing the ball and competitiveness and this team is so far my favorite and it’s been a great senior year,” Zec said.  

Senior guard/forward Katarina Zec had 13th game scoring in double figures with her 15-point performance against the RoadrunnersZec grabbed seven rebounds for the Miners and led the squad in minutes with 26. 

The Miners now battle the Rice Owls in the second game of UTEP’s three-game homestand. Rice (11-6, 6-0) is currently in first place of Conference-USA and is coming off a 75-64 win over Southern Miss at home. The Owls are the defending C-USA regular season and tournament champion.  

“We don’t have to do anything special we just have to play the way we are capable of playing and we’ll be fine,” Baker said. “We know that Rice is a good team and you know the pressure is really on Rice its not on us Rice has not lost a conference game in a while. We don’t have anything to lose and we’re a team on the rise.”  

UTEP takes on Rice at 7 p.m. Jan.23 at the Don Haskins Center.