UTEP Women Advance to C-USA Quarterfinals After 72-67 Win
One down and three to go. The UTEP women's basketball team outscored Southern Miss 20-13 in the fourth quarter to win their opening round game in the C-USA Tournament 72-67. The Miners advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. and will play top seed UAB.
Tamara Seda led UTEP (17-13) with 19 points and 14 rebounds and four other Miners scored in double figures in the game. Shonte Hailes led all scorers with 23 points and eight assists for the Lady Eagles.
"Well first of all, my hat is off to Southern Miss,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said after the game. "They have beat some really good teams this season. We were fortunate to come out on the winning side. I’m really proud and impressed with our team today. They’re just really good kids playing some really good basketball right now. I like the way our team is playing right now."
"Credit to my team for playing great defense down there at the end," Seda remarked after the game. I knew we had to seal the possessions off and get rebounds. Every time a shot went up, we knew we had to get the rebound. I just want to say that was a great, competitive game we just played. Huge props to Southern Miss for making things hard. It wouldn’t be a conference tournament if it wasn’t that competitive."
Faith Cook set a new career high four three-point baskets and she finished the game with 14 points and four assists. Najala Howell scored 13 points, while Jordan Alexander and Zuzanna Puc each poured in 10 for the Miners. UTEP shot 50-percent from the field and won the game at the free throw line, where they made 21 out of 25 attempts.
"I think Seda is best post player in the league," Southern Miss head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said afterward. "She’s so big and long it makes it difficult to guard. You have to pay so much attention that you have to give up something. Going into the game today, we were going to give up Faith Cook, because she hasn’t shot much this year. Today, she stepped up and became a hero. She was truly a difference maker in the game, getting 9 points – all three-balls."
Traci Miller will join me courtside for the Miners and UAB Blazers tomorrow morning on 600 ESPN El Paso. The two teams met earlier this season in El Paso, with the Blazers winning 84-64. UTEP trailed by just two points after three quarters, but UAB outscored them 16-1 to begin the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Watch a replay of the game below, courtesy of Conference USA.