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Balanced Attack Leads Miners Over Lions

UTEP had four players score in double figures, tough defense, and depth that lead them to a 87-65 thumping of Southeastern Louisiana and a 9-0 start.

Al Carillo-AC Photo

Southeastern Louisiana came into Sundays match up with an 1-8 record, against an 8-0 UTEP team who has dominated most opponents this season, though the Lions were not phased in the games first six minutes.

In those first six minutes, all six UTEP players who saw the floor scored, as both teams traded physical buckets early on.

UTEP held a 14-12 lead, after a 6-0 Lion run, then back-to-back Lion turnovers on offense would change the face of the game.

The second of those turnovers would lead to a Jenzel Nash jumper that would give the Miners a 18-12 advantage, that would eventually grow to a 33-13 Miner lead, part of a 30-1 UTEP run with 7:08 left to play in the first half.

17 points came off Lion turnovers in the first half, most during that 19-1 run, giving the Miners control the rest of the game, as they would get out and run, dominating all the hustle stats in the first frame, including an 8-0 advantage on fast break points.

The Miners went to the paint early and often, scoring 26 of their 45 first half points in the paint, lead by an efficient effort from senior Kristine Vitola who shot 3/3 from the field in the first half.

Anete Kirsteine would knock down a 3-pointer right before the first half buzzer sounded, giving UTEP 45-26 lead heading into the break.

The trend of paint pounding would continue in the second half, as the Miners scored 30 points there in the second frame, to go along with 11 fast break points, via the defense who forced 25 total Lion turnovers, cashing in 30 points off those turnovers for the game.

The Miners would score 56 points in the paint for the game, lead by Kayla Thornton who scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds, making it her fifth double-double of the season, in only 18 minutes of action.

Jenzel Nash sparked the Miner offense off the bench, scoring 14 points, with 4 assists and 4 huge steals. Nash's hustle from behind on Lion fast breaks stopped easy layups opportunities with her quick hand work.

One of those steals came inside the six minute mark of the second half, leading to a fast break and offensive rebound opportunity for Cameasha Turner, who muscled her way to free throw line, sinking both, giving UTEP its largest lead at 80-51 with 6:53 to play in the game.

Turner also had an efficient scoring game, she scored 14 points on 5/8 shooting from the field, including 4/5 from the free throw line.

Chrishauna Parker had an active night, and stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals, Vitola finished with 13 points on 6/8 shooting from the field.

Elizabeth Styles lead the Lions with 14 points, all coming in the second half as she hit three three-pointers.

The Miners also won the rebounding battle 43-41, though the margin was close throughout most of the game. The Miners also shot 48.7 percent from field, and at the 7:44 point in the second half were shooting 66.7 percent for the half.

With four teams ranked ahead of the Miners in the AP and Coaches rankings losing this week, the Miners could head to the Puetro Rico Classic with a 9-0 record, and a national ranking next to its name.

The Miners face Georgia Tech in the first round of the Puetro Rico Classic Friday, 3 PM MDT, then will battle Belmont, Saturday 12:30 PM to end the two day tourney.

Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for more information on all things UTEP Women's Basketball and UTEP sports. Also make sure to on Twitter, and, as always don't forget to like our Facebook Page. Picks Up, and Go Miners!