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UTEP women's basketball: Miners handle Southern Miss. 71-59

One of the first signature wins of the season was collected on the road Saturday afternoon for the UTEP women's basketball team.

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After getting crushed by Louisiana Tech while missing head coach Keitha Adams to open their two game southern road swing Thursday.   The UTEP women's basketball team put it all together with a sound 71-59 win over Southern Miss. at Reed Green Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

The Miners struggled on the boards in Thursday evening's loss, though led by 20 points and ten rebounds from Cameasha Turner, the Miners dominated the Golden Eagles on the boards with a 42-31 advantage to split their first C-USA road trip of the season.

Kierra Jordan led Southern Miss. with 14 points and seven rebounds, and would hit a jumper to give the Golden Eagles an early 15-11 edge with 10:36 left until halftime.

Then UTEP turned up their energy to another level on both ends.

UTEP would get a pair of three pointers from Anete Kirsteine to jump start a 13-2 run capped off by a fast break layup from Turner that put the Miners ahead 24-17 at the 4:46 mark of the first half.

Irene Gari was the only other Miner to score in double figures adding 10 points, and sent UTEP into the locker room with a 31-24 lead after her jumper with 31 seconds left would end up being the last field goal of the first half.

Both teams started the first 12 minutes of the second half 9/19 from the field, and Gari kept UTEP in front 53-46 with another deuce with 8:23 left to play.

Using a tough full court press, Southern Miss. would cut the UTEP lead to 56-52 with just under four minutes left after Jerontay Clemons sank a jumper, Clemons finished her afternoon with 12 points.

Though Southern Miss. would only get three field goals in the final 4:07, as Kirsteine drilled home a huge triple to give UTEP a 61-54 lead, and Tuner hit four consecutive free throws in the final 1:30 to put a bow on UTEP's third conference win of the season.

UTEP turned it over twice more than Southern Miss. (18-16), and shot 41.1 percent to Southern Miss' 44.2 percent form the field, although UTEP won it in the final four minutes thanks to a 17/24 performance at the free throw line in the game, while the Golden Eagles were 10/25 from the charity stripe.

Lulu McKinney, Sparkle Taylor, and Anete Kirsteine all scored 9 points each for UTEP, with Taylor pulling down six rebounds, and Kirsteine making three out of her four attempts from three.   UTEP connected on eight three point tries in the ball game.

A huge road run for the young Miners as they improve their growth, and chemistry along with their record record to 8-5 overall, and 3-1 in C-USA play. Southern Miss. drops to 9-5 overall, and 2-1 in conference.

UTEP returns home next Saturday afternoon to host UTSA at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time.