The Miners concluded a three-game road swing to start C-USA play at Rice on Saturday at Tudor Filed House in Houston, and fell to league-leading Owls 76-42.  From the get-go, UTEP struggled to score, which remained consistent throughout the contest as they only shot 32.4 percent from the field, (13-40).  The red-hot Owls, who've now won 13 of their last 14 games rushed out to a 9-0 start and continued their relentless scoring barrage throughout, shooting 50 percent (27-54).

Following the first quarter, the Miners were down 23-10, a 5-0 run in the second quarter enabled UTEP to cut the Owls' lead to single digits at 31-22 with 4:05 left in the period, but a late surge enabled Rice to take a commanding 40-25 edge into the half.  The Owls would go on to dominate just about every statistical category including outrebounding UTEP 38-24, scoring 28 points in the paint to the Miners' 8, and had a 14-2 advantage on second-chance points.

Rice also shot the lights out from downtown by going 12-26, (46.2%).  One bright spot for the Miners was freshman Ariana Taylor who tallied 12 points, as the Houston native reached double-figures for the second consecutive contest.  Sophomore Alexa Hoy's strong play continued as well as she scored 9 points and Jordan Alexander contributed with 8 points.  UTEP is now 4-12, 1-2 in C-USA, and will return home for a pair of games next Thursday versus defending regular season champion UAB, and Middle Tennessee on Saturday.  You can listen to both contests on 600 ESPN El Paso.

Following the game Coach Baker noted, “I think what you saw today was a team that was fighting for a championship and pushing for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.”  Our team is still climbing and trying to figure out who we are. We really struggled to put the ball in the hole. I hate that for them (the players) because they’re putting in a lot of hard work and aren’t seeing a lot of rewards for the hard work.”  It is just the third time in 47 games of the Kevin Baker era that an opponent has finished at 50.0 percent or better from the floor.


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