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Miners Power Past Texas Southern 87-61

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After a close first half, the UTEP Miners pressed and defended their way to a 87-61 win over the Texas Southern Tigers Sunday afternoon .

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Call it rust after an eight day lay off, or Texas Southern just came out to play early on.

The Tigers from the SWAC came out swinging early, catching the Miners off guard and making the first half a close, and tight ball game, as Brianna Sidney's 10 first half points would keep the Tigers at bay.

Stacie Telles would hit the Miners lone three-pointer of the half to give the Miners a 34-29 lead going into the break.

Keitha Adams would switch to a half-court trap in the second half that would change the game in the Miners favor.

The trap would force 18 second half Tiger turnovers, leading to 12 fast break points by the Miners that would stretch the lead to 69-49 with 7:10 left to play.

Kayla Thornton and Kristine Vitola protected the rim against the hard fighting Tigers, as they both combined for 7 blocks, while both also dominated the glass.

Thornton would finish with a game high 23 points on 5 rebounds, she is now 2nd all-time on the UTEP rebounding list, and sits in third place on the all-time scoring list with 1.243 points for her Miner career.

She led four Miners in double figures, Kristine Vitola (12), Kelli Willingham (12), and Irene Gari (10).

The Miners out rebounded the Tigers 49-41 led by 8 boards from Vitola and a season high 7 rebounds from Irene Gari.

Brianna Sidney finished with 17 points on 3/6 shooting from behind the 3-point arch, though the Tigers could not keep with the trap and pressure of the Miner defenders.

UTEP muscled its way to the charity stripe 38 times, making 26 of those, en-route to their 11th win on the season.

The Miners will now prepare for a huge match up with the Texas A&M Aggies on Thursday, January 2nd, in College Station.