UTEP Women’s Basketball Season Finishes in First Round C-USA Exit
The UTEP women's basketball season came to an abrupt finish Tuesday afternoon in a 58-57 overtime loss to UTSA in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.
After starting the season strong in non-conference play with an 8-2 record, the Miners' season spiraled into disarray once conference play started. They dealt with COVID-19 postponements/reschedulings in early January, but got back on the floor by mid-month. They wrapped up the C-USA slate with a disappointing 6-12 record and ended the year on a five-game losing streak.
Going into Tuesday's matchup, the Miners had won eight consecutive against the Roadrunners, including a series sweep this year by double digits (71-59 and 69-52). The Roadrunners were 3-14 in C-USA play and had lost seven of their last eight games before playing the Miners.
In the first half, UTEP stormed through by outscoring UTSA 20-10 and the squad looked fierce to start things off. However, their early momentum quickly fizzled out as the Roadrunners raced back into the game by holding UTEP to only three points in the second quarter. The Miners went into the break with a slight 23-21 lead.
Out of the half, the rest of the game was very back-and-forth. UTEP held onto its lead going into the fourth quarter, 39-34. Both teams traded blows in the final quarter and UTSA was able to tie the Miners thanks to 18 points in the fourth quarter. UTEP had their chances in overtime, but after Erin Wilson fouled UTSA's Charlene Mass, the Roadrunners were able to win the game at the charity stripe, 58-57.
Destiny Thurman led the squad with 23 points and seven rebounds against UTSA. No other Miner scored in double figures. The Miners shot just 31% from the floor and 33% from beyond the arc. UTSA was able to hit 36% of their field goals and forced 19 turnovers on defense and scored 18 points off the Miners' mistakes.
Now, fifth-year head coach Kevin Baker will have to turn the page and regroup with the squad. As talented as this bunch is, a first-round exit in the C-USA Tournament as a sixth seed is a disappointing finish for UTEP.