UTEP WBB Impressive Late in Comeback Win Over UNT
Following a dismal first quarter shooting performance, and a period where leading scorer Katarina Zec played four minutes in early foul trouble, the UTEP Women's basketball team mounted a heroic late comeback to overcome numerous obstacles in their 67-63 win over North Texas. To put it into perspective, the Miners took an early 4-3 lead ninety seconds into the game, and didn't regain the lead until eleven seconds left in the contest.
UTEP came out ice cold to start the game by shooting 14.3 percent and going 2-14 from the field in an opening quarter where they only scored 7 points. Shooting 42.9 percent in the second quarter, the Miners were able to get within five as UNT held a 27-22 edge heading into the half.
It was a tale of two halves for UTEP though as they came out in the third quarter poised to make a run as senior Katarina Zec took over in the second half by scoring all of her game-high 18-points en route to the Miners' victory. The Miners got within two or three points multiple times in a thrilling fourth quarter, but just couldn't seem to catch up to UNT, that is until 11 seconds remaining in the game, when Ariona Gill’s tip-in gave UTEP a 65-63 advantage and its first lead since early in the first quarter.
Gill also sunk the And-1 to give the Miners a 66-63 lead. Katarina Zec, added a free throw with three seconds remaining to clinch the 67-63 victory for UTEP. With the win, UTEP improved to 12-6 overall on the season with a 5-2 mark in C-USA . Ariana Taylor added 12 points for the Miners, while Ariona Gill grabbed 11 rebounds in the win, including eight on defense. Freshman Katia Gallegos also added nine points, six rebounds and five assists.
Following the game Coach Baker noted, “I didn’t think we played our best game today and I thought North Texas really defended us well and shot the ball particularly well,” I think they elevated their game against us today. I was really impressed with how they played, but then I was impressed by how we just hung around and then put ourselves in position to win in the fourth. Sometimes you have to win that way in a game where you are kind of out of rhythm a little bit; you have to find a way to win.”
North Texas led UTEP for more than 30 minutes in the game, but the Miners' stingy defense forced 23 North Texas turnovers resulting in 24 points, and dominated when it came to points in the paint after scoring 38 to UNT’s 16.
The Miners will hit the road next week to take on Middle Tennessee (12-7, 4-3 C-USA) at 5:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, Jan. 30. From there, UTEP will travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to face UAB (13-7, 5-3 C-USA) at 1 p.m. MT on Saturday, Feb. 1. You can listen to both games on our ESPN2 secondary stream with the Iceman Brandon Cohn.