UTEP WBB Loses a Tough Battle to No. 20 Arizona
The UTEP Women's basketball team displayed the true heart of a champion in front of their largest crowd of the season as 1,019 fans saw them fight until the end in a close 54-43 loss to No. 20 Arizona. The Miners' stingy defensive effort was nothing short of stellar as they held the Wildcats to their lowest scoring output in a non-conference game in the last three years. To put it into perspective, Arizona had been winning by an average margin of 33 points per game, including a 83-58 victory at No. 22 Texas.
The Miners, who are now 7-2, limited the Wildcats (9-0) to 38.0 percent shooting (19-50), including just 7.1 percent (1-14) from beyond-the-arc. Arizona entered the contest averaging 78 points and shooting 49 percent from the floor. UTEP also kept All-American Aari McDonald to 13 points on 4-14 shooting, eight below her scoring output.
The second quarter ultimately led to the Miners' demise as they shot 1-of-18 from the field and turned the ball over eight times. UTEP played a brilliant fourth quarter as the deficit was 47-29 heading into the period. They held Arizona to 1-of-14 shooting and when Avery Crouse hit a 3-pointer with 3:00 left, the deficit was 50-41. The Wildcats were able to do just enough though to hold on and move to 9-0 on the season.
For the Miners, Ariona Gill scored 11 points and Katia Gallegos added 10. Following the game Coach Baker mentioned, "I walk out of this gym with my head held high because we played some good basketball. We played terrific defense, especially in the fourth quarter. We held them to one field goal in the whole fourth quarter, that had a lot to do with our defensive energy, it had a lot to do with the energy of the Haskins Center."
The Miners will take a 12-day break for final exams and will next travel to SMU on December 19.