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UTEP Flies Past Tulsa 97-66

Kayla Thornton dominated the boards, and Jenzel Nash wowed Miner Nation with her floor skills as UTEP blows out Tulsa 97-66

Al Carillo-AC Photo

Already owning the school's rebound record, Kayla Thornton is trying to make sure no one ever touches it.

The senior grabbed 20 rebounds, with 7 coming on the offensive side, she also scored 22 points, leading UTEP to a huge statement victory over Tulsa Saturday afternoon.

Thornton and Jenzel Nash helped fuel a 14-5 UTEP run that would give the Miners a 19-11 first half lead after Kelli Willingham drilled one of her five three-pointers on the day.

Tulsa weathered every UTEP run in the first frame with six 3-pointers, Kelsee Grove added three deep balls to the cause to keep the Golden Hurricane at bay, and within striking distance.

But UTEP was in the midst of its best offensive performance of the season, putting up 50 first half points to take a 50-37 lead into the locker rooms.

Keitha Adams challenged her team to play better defense in the second, and of course, it paid off thanks to the deadly half-court trap the Miners have used coming out of the half time break this year.

UTEP held Tulsa to 29 second half points, and 36 percent shooting from the field in the second half, running away from the Golden Hurricane.

Jenzel Nash had her best game of the season as she poured in 24 points, to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and most impressively only one turnover. Adding in a couple of highlight reel plays, with her killer crossover.

The Miners had four players score in double figures, Kristine Vitola had 15, Willingham finished with 17 for UTEP leading to a 46.8 shooting percentage from the field for the game.

Another dominating effort on the boards for the Miners, owning the advantage 53-36, including 21 offensive boards turning those boards into 19 second chance points.

Many questions were asked about the Miners ability to knock down the long ball, they have answered with an exclamation point, knocking down 12 of 24 attempts against Tulsa, following up the solid showing at UAB.

UTEP (13-2, 2-0, C-USA) will face its tallest task of the early C-USA schedule, traveling to Murfreesboro to face a solid Middle Tennessee that features a tough home environment next Wednesday.