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UTEP Women’s basketball tightens up their defense over Conference-USA leader

Joel Molina
Forward Jane Asinde takes a jump-shot over the defense of a Middle Tennessee State player, Feb. 17.

Coming off a triumphant victory over Western Kentucky University, the UTEP Women’s basketball team (9-15, C-USA 4-7) looked to once again protect their home court against C-USA leader Middle Tennessee State University (21-4, C-USA 11-0). 

This would mark the second matchup of the season between the Miners and Blue Raiders. The first came last month, Jan. 18, and resulted in an 81-70 road loss. 

With the Blue Raiders leading the conference in nearly every offensive category, this matchup looked to be high scoring, but the Miners had other ideas.  

Finding themselves in a six-point deficit three minutes into the first quarter, they clawed their way back by way of their defense, not allowing the Blue Raiders to score for the rest of the first, holding them to only 11 points and taking a four-point lead into the second quarter.  

Holding the lead throughout the second quarter, the Miners gave up a three-pointer at the 1:19 mark which tied the game. 38 seconds later another three-pointer was hit, allowing Blue Raiders to take a three-point lead into halftime.  

The third quarter was neck and neck as both teams matched each other. The Miners won the quarter by a point, due to the play of freshman guard Aalyiah Stanton, who scored seven points and hit a three-pointer during the 10-minute stretch. 

Although the Miners played tough defense for most of the night, including to start the fourth quarter, the Blue Raiders were able to find their stride late, scoring 14 unanswered points to win the game and avoid the upset. 

The Miners held the number one team in the conference to their second-lowest point total of the season, the lowest against any C-USA team. Head Coach Keitha Adams said in a postgame presser that it was a good effort, but the offense is what ultimately decided the game.  

“Both sides of the ball you have to be on point, you can’t be on point on one end and not the other end,” Adams said. “On one end we were pretty good today, defensively, but our offense didn’t get the job done.” 

Freshman players Stanton, Luisa Vydrova and Aspen Salazar were mentioned to have played substantial minutes and have gained experience against a good team. Adams likened both teams to those from the recent Super Bowl. 

“It’s kind of like the Super Bowl,” Adams said. “The Chiefs have been there, they’ve done it. We are trying to find ourselves with this team, we got freshman. Where they’re at and we’re at is kind of a different place but we can learn from this experience, no doubt.” 

The UTEP women’s basketball will look to continue to gain experience and build off the positives. Their next two games will be on the road against Louisiana Tech Feb. 22, and against Sam Houston Feb. 24. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+. 

Joel Molina is the photo editor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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