The UTEP Women's basketball team won back-to-back games for the first time since the start of the season back in early November with a hard-fought 60-55 win at FIU on Saturday afternoon in Miami.  FIU jumped out by five, as they led  7-2 midway through the opening quarter. The Miners countered by wrapping a 16-7 run around the quarter break to surge into the lead at 18-14, and following a competitive back and forth first half, took a 30-23 advantage into the locker room at the break.

Overall the Miners were ahead or tied for 32 minutes in the contest, including being up by as many as nine, at 32-23 early in the third quarter, and what was even more impressive is that they were able to win the game despite having both Zuzanna Puc and Ariana Taylor in foul trouble in the second half.  Puc poured in 17 of her points in the opening half before her foul trouble. She had 10 alone in the first quarter, helping keep UTEP in the game before her other teammates got things going.  Overall, Puc had another near double-double with 19 points and 9 rebounds, while Katarina Zec added 16 points, and Neidy Ocuane contributed with a career-high tying 14 points.

Following the game Coach Baker noted, “I’m really proud of this team. We are truly seven strong.  Today was a tough match-up; they battled us the whole way.  FIU has a lot of veterans and they’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the year.  I just really like the way we’re playing right now.  We’re playing good, competitive winning basketball right now.”

UTEP registered 12 assists on its 18 made field goals, including a team-high five from Zec. The Miners excelled at the charity stripe, making 16-20, while also winning the rebounding battle 36-30.  The Miners will head home to face LA Tech on Valentine’s Day at 7 p.m. next Thursday. The game is the first of three straight and four of five in El Paso to close out the regular season.  You can listen to the contest on 600 ESPN El Paso with Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller.

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