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UTEP Women's Basketball: Miners lock up C-USA regular season title with 94-91 double OT win over Charlotte

Keitha Adams will hang another banner in the Don after another memorable season.

The UTEP women's basketball team has shown a plethora of winning qualities all season, but one that seems to be overlooked is the focus of Keitha Adams' group.

Weathering a tough to crack offensive attack by Charlotte, and showing the poise and focus to withstand a wild back-and-forth game full of runs, and twists and turns.

Focus helped UTEP hang another championship banner in the Haskins Center after a wild 94-91 double overtime thriller with Charlotte.

Jenzel Nash was simply sensational scoring 31 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and handing out seven assists.  Lulu McKinney added 18 huge points, while Starr Breedlove chipped in 13 points, and Cameasha Turner added 12 points.

UTEP shot just 42 percent from the field, and were crushed 50-36 on the boards for the game, but focus won out Saturday afternoon.

11 of UTEP's first 13 points came off of seven Charlotte turnovers, but the Miners shot 33.3 percent from the field in the opening quarter as the teams played to a 13-all tie after the first ten minutes of action.

Jenzel Nash would knock down a 3-pointer from the right wing to give UTEP a 20-15 lead at the 8:17 mark of the second quarter, but Charlotte would answer with a 10-2 run which was started by back-to-back 3-balls from Lefty Webster, and Grace Hunter which put the 49ers up 25-22 with 5:20 left until halftime.

The 49ers would finish the half shooting 48 percent from the field, while UTEP was able hit the 40-percent mark with a strong finish to the half.

Charlotte would go scoreless in the final 3:13 of the first half, as UTEP would end the half on a 8-0 spurt to take a 32-29 lead into the halftime break.

Keitha Adams made a few adjustments during halftime, one was stopping Charlotte's easy entry passes which fueled a run to open the second half.

UTEP would start 5-of-5 from the field in the second half thanks to 3-pointers from Breedlove and Turner which sparked a 10-0 run in a little over a minute to put the Miners ahead 42-31 after Nash lobbed a pass to Turner on a fast break who would tip it in at the 8:04 mark of the third quarter.

Then all of a sudden, UTEP went cold, and Charlotte's offense would start to flow again.

UTEP would miss six in a row after the hot start to open the second half which helped a 10-2 Charlotte run as the 49ers would tie things back up at 46 to end the run.

Jenzel Nash would then get free for a fast break layup, and Lulu McKinney knocked down an 18-foot jumper to help the Miners finish the third quarter on a 6-2 spurt to move in front 52-48 after three quarters.

The Miners would open up a 59-52 lead after Breelove nailed a three from the right wing at the 7:23 mark of the fourth, but Charlotte kept moving the ball around to manufacture good looks to keep themselves within striking distance.

Charlotte would then score on five straight trips up the floor, with a pair of free throws from Laia Reventos cutting the lead to 64-62 with 4:41 left in the game.

UTEP led 70-66 with exactly two minutes left, but the talented Reventos gave Charlotte a lead in the final minute.

Reventos would calmly hit a wide open 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to one, then she would find Kira Gordon for a wide open layup to give the 49ers a 71-70 lead heading into the final minute.

After Reventos split a pair of free throws, Lulu McKinney would step out of bounds along on the baseline as UTEP was looking to tie things up at 72 with 19 seconds left.

Then Jenzel Nash would rip the rock away from Ciara Gregory on the ensuing inbound, she was able to wiggle free for a layup and was hammered and sent to the free throw line.

Nash would make both, tying the game at 72, and gave Charlotte one last try for a win with 14 seconds left.

Reventos would miss a 18-footer at the buzzer, and it would take overtime to decide a victor.

In the first overtime, each team would hit a pair of free throws, and a single field goal as the physicality amped up after a 74-all tie in first five extra minutes.

The second overtime saw Lulu McKinney come up with a pair of huge 3-pointers to finally close things out.

UTEP was up 79-77 when McKinney drilled a 3-ball from the left wing, then she would can another 3-ball from almost the exact same spot to give UTEP a 85-78 lead with 1:42 left.

Then Cameasha Turner would strip Reventos and finish a wide-open layup to bring the Don into a frenzy and put UTEP 87-78 with just 1:24 left.

Charlotte kept chipping away, but the 49ers would turn it over 30-times in the game, leading to 43 points off turnovers for UTEP which ended up being the major difference.

UTEP locks up their third regular season title in school history, but still have one regular season game remaining next Thursday at UTSA.

After a rough 12-win season a year ago, Keitha Adams and her team have a chance at more banners, and more special moments in the coming weeks.