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New Mexico Tops UTEP 79-66

Jorge Salgado

Junior post Tamara Seda posted her second straight double-double (career-high 19 points, career-high 16 rebounds) but homestanding New Mexico rode the play of Cheirsa Beynon (24 points, seven assists, six rebounds) and Richelle van der Keijl (18 points, 12 rebounds) to a 79-66 victory at The Pit Sunday afternoon.

It was a tale of two halves, with the Lobos (4-5) clicking on all cylinders over the first 20 minutes to build a 48-29 advantage heading into the locker room. UNM nailed 51.4 percent (18-35) from the floor, including 43.4 percent (7-16) on triples, in addition to forcing eight UTEP turnovers in the period.

The Miners did an excellent job of making adjustments at the break, and played a much better second half. UTEP outscored UNM, 37-31, during the final 20 minutes but the damage had been done.

Overall UNM finished at 43.9 percent (29-66) from the field, including 10-29 (34.5 percent) from distance. UTEP connected on 37.7 percent (26-69), which included drilling a season-best seven three pointers. The Miners also battled on the boards, with UNM holding a slight edge (46-43) in the category.

“They hit some big shots (10-29 from three-point line), that was tough,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “Then we had scoring droughts-some long stretches without being able to score. We struggled in our shooting. They just outplayed us. I thought we played a lot better in the second half than in the first half but we dug ourselves too big of a hole. We are going to have to find a way to put more points on the board.

Senior Sparkle Taylor (14 points, eight rebounds), freshman Zuzanna Puc (nine points, three rebounds), junior Lulu McKinney (eight points, four assists) and sophomore Najala Howell (eight points, three rebounds) supported Seda’s play. Making the play of Seda even more impressive is that it came against the rock-solid 6-5 post van der Keijl.

UNM had four players reaching double figures, with Mykiel Burleson (13 points) and Alex Lapeyrolerie (12 points) buoying van der Keijl and Beynon.

UTEP will host NMSU on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.