UTEP women’s basketball team falls to FIU

Sophomore+guard+Katia+Gallegos+looks+to+get+around+the+FIU+defender+on+Jan.+30+at+the+Ocean+Convocation+Center.

Photo courtesy of Michael Berlfein

Sophomore guard Katia Gallegos looks to get around the FIU defender on Jan. 30 at the Ocean Convocation Center.

Daniel Alec Lopez, Reporter

The UTEP women’s basketball team (12-7, 4-5 Conference-USA) lost to Florida International University (10-7, 3-4 C-USA) on Jan. 29 at the Ocean Convocation Center. The Miners could not string together enough runs in this game to keep up and struggled defensively in this 72-45 loss. 

In the first quarter, the Miners could not consistently get their offense in gear, enabling a 15-5 deficit to FIU, then a 24-5 deficit.  

But the Miners were able to find their footing offensively towards the end of the first half. Starting with sophomore guard Erin Wilson hitting some free throws to cut FIU’s lead to 25-5. Then, sophomore guard Katia Gallegos, scored a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left in the first quarter to put the score at 24-8. 

Going into the second quarter, the scoring continued with freshman forward Elina Arike scoring a basket to bring down FIU’s lead to 24-10. Then at the 8:12 mark, junior guard Destiny Thurman made a bucket to make the score 24-12. 

Later on in this contest, Gallegos sank a pair of free throws to put the score at 30-16. 

UTEP’s offense chipped away at the Panther’s lead, but the Miners trailed going into halftime with a score 38-20. 

The Miners struggled from the floor, shooting only 5-of-28. The Panthers, however, were scorching hot from the 3-point line shooting at 50%. 

In the third quarter of this contest, graduate student and forward Teal Battle got a lay-up and put the score at 22-42 after two straight baskets made from FIU. 

Once again, FIU continued to counter whatever the Miners threw at them  in this contest. 

Gallegos and Arike tried to keep the Miners in this contest by scoring baskets. But again, FIU  had an answer for every score the Miners made. 

UTEP could not stop FIU on defense despite the Miners trying to keep up offensively. 

In the start of the fourth quarter, FIU pushed their lead to 60-36. The Miners pushed back with a scoring run that cut down the lead 40-68. However, FIU kept up the tempo and never stopped scoring till the final buzzer in this contest. 

The Miners fell in this game to the Panthers with a final score of 72-45. 

FIU held a lead that never went below 17, while UTEP was held to a season low of 45 points. The Miners field goal percentage was also at a season low with it being 25%. 

UTEP also turned the ball over a season high 25 times. 

Four players for FIU scored in double figures, with junior guard Grace Hunter being the leading scorer with 14 points in this contest. 

The Panthers had their largest lead at 28 points in the fourth quarter of this contest. 

As for the Miners, Gallegos finished this contest with a team high 23 points and went 5 of 11 shooting from the floor. Gallego would also hit 10 of 12 free throws in this contest. 

Arike finished the day with seven points and grabbed a team high 10 rebounds for this contest. 

The 27-point margin of defeat is the largest for the Miners since a 79-49 loss at home to Middle Tennessee on Jan. 19, 2019. 

The UTEP women’s basketball team can be seen back in action in their next game against the University of North Texas Mean Green at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the Don Haskins Center. All stats provided courtesy of UTEP Athletics. 

Daniel Alec Lopez is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]