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Women’s basketball beat No. 21 Middle Tennessee

Jasmin Campoya
Junior guard Jazion Jackson builds up to shoot a three pointer on the court against No. 21 Middle Tennessee.

Editor’s Note: This is a recap of Thursday night’s game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Feb. 2, 2023.

It was “Folklorico Night” Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Don Haskins for the UTEP women’s basketball game against the Middle Tennessee (MT) Blue Raiders (18-3, C-USA 11-1), who is currently ranked No. 21 in the country making this a huge win for the Miners (14-6, C-USA 7-4).

Both teams went dancing, each taking the lead as the game went on. Neither team held more than a ten-point lead against the other, making it an extremely close win for the Miners. This win also marks the first time in 25 years and the second time in program history the UTEP women’s basketball won against a ranked opponent.

The game began with a UTEP possession, and although the Miners ran the shot clock, they were able to take the ball back from MT. Miners junior guard Erin Wilson attempted a layup and got fouled on, making the first of her two free throws. UTEP rebounds the ball following Wilson’s shot and sophomore forward Adhel Tac puts the ball up again, giving the Miners a good start to the game.

MT was off to a slow start as the Miners led 6-0, but MT made a quick recovery, implementing a full court press. Later in the quarter, MT gave the Miners a run for their money, as junior forward Courtney Whitson scored two three-pointers against the Miners. UTEP responded with their own shots, ending the quarter in a 16-16 tie.

The second quarter began with a UTEP possession, but MT got ahold of the ball, and graduate student Alexis Whittington made a three-pointer, taking a 16-19 lead over the Miners. Neither team took it easy on defense, and the Miners were able to tie the game back up.

MT had a short-lived streak against the Miners, taking an eight-point lead during this quarter. The Miners were able to make a comeback, as they ended the first half of the game 32-34, trailing behind by only two points.

The second half started off with another Miners possession. After the ball exchanged teams, Wilson was fouled on, and she made both of her free throws, tying the game back up again. During a MT possession, UTEP’s junior guard Avery Crouse got ahold of the ball and scored a layup, putting the Miners back in the lead.

UTEP maintained its lead throughout the third quarter, as this was not MT’s time to shine. MT missed multiple shot attempts, allowing the Miners to widen the lead against the Blue Raiders. Crouse ended the quarter for the Miners, scoring two from the paint and getting fouled on in the process. She scored her free throw giving the Miners a decent 51-45 lead against MT.

The final quarter proved to be the most intense as MT started off strong, with sophomore guard Jaylynn Gregory scoring a three-pointer. UTEP’s sophomore forward Elina Arike was fouled during a Miners possession, making the first of her two shots. A foul from UTEP gave MT’s senior forward Kseniya Malashka an opportunity to make a two-pointer, bringing the score to 52-50.

UTEP’s junior guard Jazion Jackson responded with a three-pointer, widening the lead against MT. After another attempted shot from MT, the Miners get the rebound, and Arike scores two for the Miners. MT scored a free throw shot, but UTEP responded once again. Arike was fouled on, scoring two from the paint and she made a free throw shot, taking the Miners to a 60-53 lead.

Gregory scored eight for MT during the quarter, closing in on the Miners. However, Jackson made two free throw shots during Gregory’s streak, bringing the score to 62-61, with the Miners in a tight lead. The Miners foul Malashka, allowing her to make her second free throw, tying the game up again. At this point, both teams are running hard defense, making it almost impossible to pass or shoot the ball.

With 4.8 seconds left on the clock and the ball in Miners’ possession, Jackson scores a three-pointer, in what was thought to be a buzzer-beater win for the Miners. 0.4 seconds was added back to the clock, but MT was unable to respond, making this a historic 65-62 win for the Miners.

The Miners stay in the Sun City to face Western Kentucky University (12-9, C-USA 9-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb 4 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.

Nicholas Maes may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Sports Editor
Nicholas Maes is a sports editor at The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in history with a minor in commercial music. He plans to continue his academic career in history after earning his bachelor's degree.
Jasmin Campoya
Jasmin Campoya, Photographer
Jasmin Campoya is a bilingual student who is a senior currently majoring in digital media production at UTEP. She is a staff photographer for The Prospector, a photo editor for Minero Magazine, and is currently a social media and marketing intern for El Paso Inc. All while being a full time student, she also takes photos for her own small business, JasminCPhoto. Jasmin plans on continuing photography and hopes to work full time at an El Paso publication.
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Women’s basketball beat No. 21 Middle Tennessee