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Parker Fuels Miners Fierce Overtime Comeback

UTEP came back from 23 point second half deficit to shock Southern Miss in an over time thriller 86-85.

Chrishauna Parker
Chrishauna Parker
Al Carrillo-AC Photo

Some could call it a tale of two halves, but it was truly a tale of the final 15 minutes with Miners mounting the largest comeback win in school history.

The Miners got off to an ice cold start to begin this one.

Southern Miss held the Miners to 21.4 percent shooting in the first frame, using an early 7-1 lead to stymie the Miners in the games first five minutes.

Both squads would eventually trade first half runs, though the Golden Eagles would pull away to a 37-18 halftime lead by shooting 51 percent, and 14 first half points from guard Jerontay Clemons.

UTEP could not stop Southern Miss in the paint, the Golden Eagles would pound out 22 points in the paint in the half, while running the Miners ragged on fast breaks with an 8-0 edge after the first half of play.

Brittanny Dinkins would finish off a 8-2 Southern Miss run in the second half that would expand the lead to the magic number of the night 23, at 45-22 with 16:31 to play, and the Golden Eagles looking towards the finish line.

But Chrishauna Parker wasn't having it, not tonight in her house and paint

Parker, who only had 3 rebounds at the half, would explode for 13 boards in the games final 15 minutes to fuel the Miner comeback, including 9 total offensive rebounds, 8 coming in the second stanza.

With the heart, and tenacity on the boards from Parker, UTEP began chipping away at the lead as Keitha Adams switched to the Miners deadly half court trap that seemed to wear down the Golden Eagles, and anyone else who has faced it.

Back-to-back three point plays by CP, made possible by four of her offensive rebounds in that period would give the Miners life down 64-57 with 7:15 left.

Kayla Thornton is well known for her offensive numbers, but the Miners senior leader got in a stance, and had four second half steals adding to the comeback.

One of those steals lead to a Jenzel Nash swish on a floater cutting the lead to 72-69 So Miss as time ticked under three minutes, prompting a quick timeout from the Golden Eagles who sensed the trouble ahead.

That trouble would come of a dish from Parker to Kelli Willingham who banged home a three to tie things up at 74 with Southern Miss controlling it with under a minute left.

But Markia Nix would get lost in the trap, and put Southern Miss back up by a bucket, 76-74, just ten seconds later.

Park found her way to line, and sank two clutch free throws to tie it back up with 34 seconds, leaving one last chance for Southern Miss.

Dinkins clanked a wide open look from deep for a chance at the win, sending this thriller to overtime.

Jenzel Nash gave UTEP its first lead of the game since the 14:00 mark of the first half, with a tough jumper making it 80-78 UTEP as things approached the two minute mark.

Then Nash would put the Miners up 85-80 in the overtime session after splitting a pair of free throws, though Golden Eagles would just not go away.

Jamierra Faulkner would nail a three-ball, then finish off an assist from Clemons with a lay up to knot things back up for a fifth time, this time at 85's with just 34 ticks left.

On the Miners ensuing possession, Thornton was fouled while fighting for position down low sending her to the line for two.

After making the first, and missing the second, she came up with the play of the game.

Faulkner raced down on the games final possession looking for a cutter, but instead found Thornton who went the other way to seal an improbable come back from Keitha Adams and her group.

Parker finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds, on 7/8 shooting from the free throw line.

Kayla Thronton had a game high 26 points, adding 8 rebounds to the comeback efforts.  Nash was 4 out of 21 from field finishing with 13 points, but was clutch with that jumper in overtime, and also had 5 rebounds.

Key stat of the game was 20 second chance point poured in by the Miners in the second half, they also forced 22 turnovers leading to 25 points for the Orange and Blue.  UTEP also won the battle of boards 46-44 once it was all said and done, after being crushed 24-14 on the glass in the first half.

Southern Miss is well coached, and has fine basketball team, they were lead by Clemons who finished with 21 points, Kierra Jordan, and Jamierra Faulkner both had 15 for the Golden Eagles who shot 50 percent from the field in the game.

The Miners now prepare for a road trip to San Antonio to take on the UTSA Roadrunners Satruday 3 PM MT.