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UTEP Women's Basketball: UTEP survives Southern Miss' second half charge 72-64

This team just keeps finding ways to win.

Its almost starting to sound like a broken record that just keeps repeating itself during conference play, but in a positive way.

The UTEP women's basketball weathered a second half run, forced more than 20-turnovers, and used some stifling defense, and game clinching free throws down the stretch to stave off another hard fighting squad looking for an upset.

This time it was Southern Miss. who started strong, kept themselves within striking distance after a monster UTEP run, and actually took a small second half lead.

But UTEP's defensive pressure was just too much down the stretch.

Four Miners reached double figures led by Cameasha Turner who scored 20 points on 10-of-11 free throw shooting in the game.  Jenzel Nash added 16 points, and seven rebounds, Sparkle Taylor came off the bench to score 13 points, and Starr Breedlove scored 12 points, and dished out seven assists.

UTEP improves to 8-0 in C-USA play despite being out rebounded 39-34, but the Miners cashed in on 20 points off 24 forced turnovers in the ball game which proved to be the biggest difference on the stat sheet.

It was a slow for the Miners on the offensive end as they started off 2-of-10 from the field, and trailed USM 14-9 after a layup from Brittny Norris at the 3:24 mark of the first quarter.

Then UTEP got things rolling and gave themselves a nice first half lead.

UTEP went on a 22-4 run after trailing 14-9, and scored 10 straight to end the run and grabbed a 31-18 lead with 4:02 left in the first half.

USM shot for a better percentage from the field in the first half, but turned it over 13 times as UTEP took a 32-26 lead at halftime.

UTEP came out strong and efficient to start the second half, looking to put this away early.

Tamara Seda gave UTEP a 42-31 lead at the 7:50 mark of the second half, and it appeared UTEP would go into cruise control.

Although USM had zero quit, and a battle ensued.

The Golden Eagles went on a 15-4 run from there with back-to-back baskets by Caitlin Jenkins giving Southern Miss. their first second half lead at 47-45 with 2:33 left in the third quarter.

Neither team would stretch a lead larger than three over the next seven minutes or so, as another UTEP-Southern Miss women's basketball game became another nip-and-tuck battle.

A free throw by Chrishauna Parker finally gave UTEP some breathing room, and a 57-51 lead with 5:52 left to play, but Keri Jewett-Giles kept the Golden Eagles alive with a big time performance off the bench.

She would score nine straight points for USM, the seventh coming via a free throw to close the gap again with UTEP clinging on to a 60-58 lead with 4:00 minutes left in the game.

Starr Breedlove would then hit a big time three, then Jewett-Giles made a pair of free throws to keep things very much within reach with UTEP leading 63-60 heading into the final three minute stretch of the game.

Southern Miss. turned it over on six straight possession down the stretch, while Turner scored seven of UTEP's final nine points in the final minute to finally put the game away.

Jewett-Giles led all scorers with 23 points off the bench, USM's bench outscored UTEP's bench 46-21 in the game.

UTEP shot 43 percent from the field, and an important 16-of-21 from the free throw line to improve to 17-1 overall, stretching their current win streak to nine.

Keitha Adams and the Miners are still tied for first place in the C-USA standings as WKU took care of business against UAB tonight, with LA Tech coming into the Don on Saturday afternoon.

The recording breaking season keeps on spinning, as the same winning tune has been sweet since November.