Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
It was a high paced game, and while the Miners started strong they were simply unable to keep up and fell 89-77 at the hands of UCF.
The Miners got off to a hot start in Friday morning's semifinal matchup with Central Florida, scoring 43 points in the first half en route to a three point lead. But, the scoring continued in the second half and the Miners just were unable to keep pace.
UTEP maintained its three point lead minutes into the second half, but senior center Anete Steinberga picked up her 3rd foul, and the wheels would soon come off. With Steinberga on the bench the Knights used a 12-0 run to turn a three point deficit into a nine point lead and they never looked back.
The Miners were able to fight back to pull within five but that's as close as they would get. In the end, UCF walked away with an 89-77 victory and punched their ticket to the Conference USA tournament final.
All five Miner starters scored in double figures, led by Steinberga who finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Kayla Thornton had 18 points and 5 rebounds, Cameasha Turner and Kelli Willingham finished with 12 points apiece, and Chrishauna Parker chipped in with 12 points and 10 boards.
UCF was led by Briahanna Jackon who finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Sara Djassi and Kayli Keough had 17 points each and Gevenia Carter finished with 16 points of her own. In all the Knights had six players score in double figures, and five of them had 5 rebounds or more.
The loss drops the Miners to 22-10 and they will now have to wait to hear what their postseason fate will be. UCF moves a step closer to an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and can secure that bid with a win over host Tulsa in tomorrow's championship game.