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Women’s basketball edges out Bearkats in final minutes

Junior+guard+Delma+Zita+calls+out+a+play+while+being+guarded+by+Sam+Houston+senior+guard+Shanti+Henry%2C+Jan.+27+at+the+Don+Haskins+Center.+
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Junior guard Delma Zita calls out a play while being guarded by Sam Houston senior guard Shanti Henry, Jan. 27 at the Don Haskins Center.

After only winning two of the team’s last five matchups, the UTEP women’s basketball team (8-3, C-USA 3-3) fought for a hard-earned win over the C-USA newcomer Sam Houston University (5-13, C-USA 0-6) during “Noche Latina”. 

The Sam Houston Bearkats would be the first to strike with a jumper from junior guard Tamera Derrough. The score would remain untouched until UTEP senior guard Mahri Petree nailed a three-pointer at 8:27. 

The two teams exchanged the lead a few times until the game was tied up at seven points each, when UTEP senior forward, Jane Asinde, scored from within the paint. 

A number of possessions would go by with neither team managing to score until junior guard Diarrah Sissoko handed the ball off to junior guard Kassidy Dixon for a layup giving the Bearkats a 9-7 lead. 

The Miners defense would not allow the Bearkats to score until the final four minutes of the quarter where, meanwhile, they took the lead thanks to a trip to the free throw line by junior guard Delma Zita and a jumper by Petree. 

The final minutes of the first quarter were competitive, but Sam Houston would find itself on top 21-18 at the first buzzer thanks to a 4-0 run in the final 83 seconds of the first quarter. 

The Bearkats would maintain a hefty lead for a large part of the second quarter, but a trip to the free throw line by Asinde would allow the Miners to tie the game up 34-34 with just over two minutes left in the half. 

UTEP would ride this wave of momentum on defense into the final seconds of the half not allowing Sam Houston to score following Asinde’s free throw. The Miners would end the half on top with a score of 36-34.

Several minutes passed in the third quarter before either team could manage to score aside from a game-tying jumper made by Derrough via an assist by sophomore forward Elena Houghton in the opening minute.

It would be Sam Houston to strike first following the scoring drought thanks to an assist from Derrough to senior forward Kaylee Jefferson. 

The score would remain within three points for the Miners until the final two minutes of the quarter following a three-point shot by Jefferson which extended the Bearkats’ lead to six points with a score of 50-44.

The Bearkats would finish the third quarter with a sizable 52-46 lead.

To start the final quarter of the game, the Miners quickly closed the gap going on a 5-0 run, bringing the score within two points with 8:10 left to play. 

Sam Houston would then push back going on a 7-0 run which was tapped off by a three-pointer by junior guard Sydnee Kemp in the fourth minute. The score would read 59-52 following the three-point attempt by Kemp.

It seemed that Sam Houston would take the game as ESPN Analytics favored a Bearkats win by 86% but the tides would shift for the Miners with just under 2:30 to play. 

A foul committed against freshman guard Aaliyah Stanton following a successful layup attempt would give the Miners a chance at a three-point play. Stanton would nail the free throw attempt, giving the Miners a two-point lead. 

The Miners defense would tighten in the final moments of the game not allowing a single point while the offense would muster three more points to secure the game. 

The final score favored the Miners 66-61. The top scorers for both teams, Asinde and Jefferson, scored 16 points. This performance also marks Asinde’s eight double-double with the Miners. 

After the game Miners Head Coach Keitha Adams tipped her hat to the opposition noting that the close scores at the end of each quarter gave UTEP a good fight. 

“I thought Sam Houston played us hard today, played tough, and made us earn it,” Adams said. “Things weren’t looking too good for a little bit, but we got some good stops and I thought we executed down the stretch and played hard.” 

The Miners now pack their bags for a three-game road stint with stops at Jax State (6-12, C-USA 1-5), Liberty University (8-13, C-USA 3-3) and New Mexico State University (9-10, C-USA 3-3). 

UTEP will not return to the Don Haskins Center until 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, to take on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (13-8, C-USA 4-2). 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram. 

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About the Contributor
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
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