Using an early 15-3 first half run that set an early tone, UTEP sprinted past Northern Arizona 82-58 Wednesday evening in the Don, leading from the opening tip to the final gun.
Despite allowing seven first half offensive rebounds, UTEP shot 50 percent in the first frame, hitting their first seven of ten attempts from behind the three point line, and in using that first half charge and deadly shooting start UTEP took a 46-24 lead into the break.
UTEP shot 43.3 percent for the game, and limited NAU to only four field goals in the first 11:02 of the second half.
The Miners also forced 18 Lumberjack turnovers, cashing in on 28 points off NAU miscues, and jumped out to a 63-33 lead during the NAU drought to open the second half.
Sparkle Taylor came off the bench to score 19 points on 8/10 shooting, while also collecting six rebounds. Stacie Telles added 10 points swishing home a trio of three pointers, and did a masterful job running the point by dishing out six assists with just one turnover.
Coach Keitha Adams challenged her squad on the boards after a horrid stat line on Sunday versus SMU that saw UTEP get out boarded 52-31.
Freshman Daeshianna McCants responded with six offensive boards, finishing with eight rebounds on the night, also adding in seven points. UTEP only allowed three offensive boards in the final twenty minutes en route to 48-38 rebounding margin at the final tally.
But the difference in this game was UTEP's depth as Keitha Adams had a deep rotation that saw eleven players see ten or more minutes, while dominating the bench points category with a 48-16 margin for the game.
Rene Coggins led Northern Arizona with 22 points, Tori Lloyd chipped in with 16 points, but NAU could not over come those turnover numbers, 34 percent shooting from the field, and the Miners scoring depth that put them away early.
UTEP improves to 2-1 on the year and heads south of the border for their biggest test of the non-conference slate which is the Hardwood Tournament of Hope that starts November 25th.
The Miners open with Kansas State on the 25th, then will face LSU on the 26th, and end their Mexico adventure with Santa Clara on the 27th.
Huge step tonight for the Miners in finding quality game experience for the younger parts, but all the tweaking and hard work has to come together quicker than quick as UTEP's first step into the 2014-15 big stage starts next week in Mexico.