UTEP WBB Celebrates Senior Day with a Victory Over Southern Miss
The UTEP women's basketball team concluded the home portion of their schedule today by honoring seniors Katarina Zec, Ariona Gill, Jade Rochelle, and Neidy Ocuane. It was a special afternoon for their four seniors and the team was able to put the cherry on top by sweeping the season series over Southern Miss with a 80-72 triumph over the Lady Eagles.
The game was a back-and-forth affair with five ties and five lead changes, as the Miners (15-12, 8-8 C-USA) ripped off seven straight points midway through the fourth quarter to turn a one-point deficit into a six-point advantage (63-57). The Lady Eagles (14-13, 6-10 C-USA) could get no closer than four the rest of the way, with UTEP closing out the contest in style.
Numerous Miners performed brilliantly as Avery Crouse scored a career-high tying 21 points, Katarina Zec (17 points), Arina Khlopkova (14 points) and Katia Gallegos tallied a career-high 12 assists, and a career-most seven steals. The 12 assists by Gallegos were one shy of the UTEP single-game record and tied for third-most in a contest by a Miner. Her seven steals earned her a share for seventh for UTEP’s single-game charts.
The Miners shot 48.3 percent (28-58) from the floor, piled up 22 assists on 28 field goals made, while forcing 23 turnovers that led to 24 points. That effort allowed UTEP to offset being outrebounded by 13 (43-30). Following the game Kevin Baker noted, “That was a terrific college basketball game today, it could have gone either way, but I thought our whole team stepped up. This team is a special team, and I’m glad that our fans came out to watch us play. They got their money’s worth.”
All four seniors for UTEP played, with Zec leading the quartet with 17 points, two assists, two rebounds and two steals. Jade Rochelle came off the bench to provide five points and a team-best seven boards in only six minutes, while Ariona Gill fought through foul trouble to contribute five rebounds. Neidy Ocuane, who has been sidelined since the fourth game of the year with an injury, played in the final minute of the contest.
UTEP will venture to preseason favorite Rice for a 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT tip-off on March 5. The game is part of a season-closing stretch with five of seven on the road. The Miners will then wrap up the regular season at North Texas at 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT on March 7. You can listen to both contests with Duke Keith on 600 ESPN El Paso.