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UTEP ends Patrick Harrington Classic with loss to Alabama 78-60

Jorge Salgado

Sparkle Taylor posted a game-high 20 points and UTEP shot its highest percentage (51.9) vs. a division I foe on the year but Alabama forced 24 turnovers and unleashed a barrage of three pointers (11-25) to post a 78-60 victory in the final game of the Patrick Harrington Classic Tuesday evening.

“This is the toughest non-conference schedule we’ve ever had (school-record five power conference teams), but we’re going to reap some benefits somewhere down the road” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “I think the biggest positive is that our kids are still a team; they’re really being very supportive of each other. I thought we played hard tonight. We’ve been through the shredder, and it’s been very humbling and difficult. We had five freshmen on the floor at the end of the game vs. Alabama.”

Lulu McKinney (10 points) joined Taylor in double figures while Zuzanna Puc added nine points. McKinney dished out a game-high six assists.

The Miners (2-9) dug themselves into a 25-13 hole after 10 minutes of action, and trailed 30-13 with just under seven minutes left until halftime.

UTEP fought the rest of the way reducing the deficit to 11 points but it was unable to ever get it into single digits. In the final frame Alabama managed to push its lead out to as many as 30, although UTEP finished the game on a 16-4 run.

UTEP will now take a break for Christmas before wrapping up non-conference play at home vs. CSU-Bakersfield with a special matinee match-up at 1 p.m. on Dec. 28 (Wednesday).