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UTEP’s effort not enough against the Mean Green

Gianluca Cuevas
Junior guard Erin Wilson is fouled as she attempts a shot.

The UTEP women’s basketball team (13-6, 6-4 C-USA) faced the University of North Texas (UNT) (8-13, 5-6 C-USA) at the Don Haskins Center, Saturday, Jan 28. The Miners entered this game with an overtime win on the road.   

Senior guard Jazion Jackson started the game off with a three-pointer which then led to an abrupt 9-0 run by UNT, while causing four turnovers in the first three minutes of the game.

The Mean Green managed to capitalize by scoring 14 points from turnovers, second chance points and off the bench. The Miners were able to close out the first quarter down by only two points. 

UNT started the second period with a 9-0 run which gave them a double-digit lead. Sophomore forward Elina Arike stopped the drought with a layup.

UNT Guard Quincey Nobel was unstoppable in the first half as she notched 20 points in the first half, double the amount of UTEP’s highest scoring guard, junior Avery Crouse who had merely nine points.

UNT entered halftime with a lead of 33-29 in which they led the whole first half after being down only three points to start the game. Before the end of the period, UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker called a timeout.

To start the third quarter, things did not seem to change as UNT shot 52.4 percent from the field compared to a meager 25 percent by the Miners. In the third quarter, Crouse and sophomore forward Adhel Tac were in foul trouble with a total of three each. 

Halfway through the third quarter, the game seemed to be over as the Miners were down by 15 with visible frustration after multiple questionable calls made by the  game’s referees.

However, to start the fourth quarter the tide seemed to change as things started going for the Miners. The Miners were able to shut down Nobel in the third holding her to only three points in the fourth.  

Key players such as Crouse and senior guard Sabine Lipe fouled out. North Texas was struggling to close out the game while only making four out of their final eight free throws.

This allowed the Miners to comeback. However, despite the setbacks, the Miners were able to rally back and put the game within six points with a minute left in regulation.

Arike and junior guard Erin Wilson hit back-to-back shots with 30 seconds left to put UTEP within three points. 

With 18 seconds left, UNT’s Kenal MCGruder went to the line and made both free throws which increased the Mean Green’s lead to five points.

Arike once again came up big for UTEP as she hit a layup with six seconds left cutting the lead to three. The Miners went with a full court press and caused a turnover with two seconds left.  

A last shot attempt by Elina Arike was blocked which hindered the possibility of a comeback.  

Four out of UTEP’s starting five hit double digits on the score. The Miners rallied to a late 15-point comeback, however it was not enough to secure a win over the North Texas Mean Green.

“We rebound the ball so well usually that I wasn’t really very concerned in a free throw box out,” coach Baker said. “We sure missed two big ones. And really, if you boil it down, that cost us the game late.”

 “If you really watched the 40 minutes of the game though, we lost the game in the first 15 minutes. I didn’t have my team ready and I think that falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach whenever you have a better team and they come out in the first half and were not ready to play, were not prepared to play.”

The Miners face ranked No.23 Middle Tennessee State University (18-2, 11-0 C-USA) 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. 

All stats from UTEP Athletics.

Gianluca Cuevas a contributor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Gianluca Cuevas
Gianluca Cuevas, Photographer
Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to work in the automotive industry designing cars/mechanic in the F1. He also has his small photography business 365elements which he plans to continue to grow.
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UTEP’s effort not enough against the Mean Green