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Miners lose to LA Tech in late comeback

Guard+Mahri+Petree+and+the+womens+basketball+team+listen+to+Head+Coach+Kevin+Baker+during+a+time+out+against+Louisiana+Tech+University+at+the+Don+Haskins+Center+Feb.+17.+
Annabella Mireles
Guard Mahri Petree and the women’s basketball team listen to Head Coach Kevin Baker during a time out against Louisiana Tech University at the Don Haskins Center Feb. 17.

UTEP women’s basketball (13-11, 5-9 Conference USA) faced a tough loss to Louisiana Tech University (15-9, 7-6 C-USA) on Thursday, Feb. 17 at the Don Haskins Center, 77-60.  

The first half of the game both teams came out fighting, with the Miners taking the early lead after a 15-0 run, bringing the score to 18-9. LA Tech answered UTEP’s run by scoring 17 straight points, giving the lead to the Lady Techsters, 22-18. 

LA Tech’s junior guard Keiunna Walker played a major role in the win against UTEP. Walker scored a career-high of 32 points, shooting 12-24, 2-4 from the three-point line and 6-9 from the free throw line. Walker scored 10 points in the first quarter to help LA Tech take the lead. 

The Miners’ sophomore guard Mahri Petree scored 10 of her season-high 13 points during the first half. Petree recorded a pair of 3-pointers and went 4-of-5 from the field during the first 20 minutes of the game. 

“I wanted to come out on and give my team energy right from the rip, and when I focus on doing that, it gets me going too,” Petree said. 

UTEP kept it close with LA Tech leading by four points at the half, 28-32.  

In the third quarter, the Miners came out of the half and scored five straight points to take the lead, 33-32; this was the last time the Miners would lead in the game. With three minutes left, LA Tech went on an 11-2 run to extend its lead to 10 going into the fourth, 54-44. 

During the fourth quarter, LA Tech continued to add to its lead with a game-high of 22 points, with 1:50 left with the help of Walker.  

The final score was 77-60. 

Both teams made various mistakes but also enjoyed a quite a few successes. With a combined total of 57 turnovers, 24 for LA Tech and a season-high of 33 for the Miners, LA Tech was able to outscore UTEP with points off turnovers.  

Despite the turnovers, both teams were effective on the floor with LA Tech shooting 50.9 percent and UTEP shooting 47.8 percent. The Miners also assisted on 17 of 22 shots made.  

Leading the Miners, graduate student forward Teal Battle equaled a career best of three steals, freshman forward Brenda Fontana went 4-of-4 along with 10 points and three rebounds, sophomore guard Katia Gallegos recorded a season-high of nine assists, and Petree recorded six rebounds. 

“It’s hard to win any game when you have that many turnovers. I’d say virtually impossible,” Head Coach Kevin Baker said in a post-game interview with UTEP Athletics. “I hurt for our fans because they deserve better. Our players deserve better. We have to play better. We are not going to play the victim and talk about who wasn’t here and who is hurt; we are not going to do that. With the players that were on the floor tonight, we were plenty good enough to win; we just didn’t.” 

UTEP will be back at the Don Haskins Center at 12 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, against Southern Miss to finish off the home portion of the regular season. 

All stats for LA Tech courtesy of LA Tech Athletics, latechsports.com 

All stats and quotes for UTEP courtesy of UTEP Athletics, utepminers.com  

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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Miners lose to LA Tech in late comeback