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UTEP Women's Basketball: Miners power past WKU for sole possession of first place

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It was a close battle, but UTEP was able to get on two fourth quarter runs to give themselves a big road win.

Five Miners scored in double figures, led by Starr Breedlove who poured in 21 points to lead UTEP past WKU 85-78 to grab sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings.

The Miners shot 50 percent in the ballgame, and pounded the paint to hold a 48-40 advantage in points in the paint to fend off the talented Hilltoppers.

UTEP found themselves in another early hole on the road, as WKU jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead in the first six minutes after making four in a row from the field.

WKU led by as much as 12 in the first quarter, and took a 22-13 lead after the first 10 minutes.

A jumper by Cameasha Turner brought UTEP within five trailing 25-20 at the 8:04 mark of the second quarter, but WKU shot 59 percent in the first half led by Tashia Brown who scored 18 first half points.

The Lady Tops would stretch the margin to 10 heading into the final two minutes of the half, but Turner scored four straight to send UTEP into the locker rooms trailing 46-40.

UTEP came out of the locker room with some energy, and opened the third quarter on a 13-4 run to take their first lead.

With UTEP down 48-42, Starr Breedlove got inside the lane for layup, then she would knock down a three pointer to bring UTEP within one trailing 48-47 with 8:02 left in the third quarter.

Then UTEP scored seven straight to end the run thanks to a three by Lulu McKinney, and a layup from Chrishuana Parker that put UTEP in front 54-50 at the 6:16 mark.

WKU would answer the UTEP run by scoring seven straight, and end the quarter on a 9-4 spurt to take a 61-58 lead after the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was exactly what you would expect in a battle for first place.

UTEP trailed 67-64 in the first two minutes of the fourth, but would go on a 9-0 run to take a 73-67 lead after a pair of free throws by Parker.

WKU would answer that UTEP run with another run of their own, this time a 7-2 spurt gave them a 76-75 lead thanks to a layup by Ima Akpan the 3:41 mark.

Starr Breedlove would then hit a clutch three pointer on the next UTEP trip up the floor to put UTEP back in front 78-76 as the Tops went on a 1-of-5 stretch from the field.

Another clutch three would drop for UTEP, this time it was Lulu McKinney dropping the dagger to give UTEP a two possession lead at 82-78 with 48 seconds left.

After a timeout by WKU, the Lady Tops turned it over twice in a row, the second was a steal by Breedlove that led to an easy layup for her which officially sent UTEP into first place.

Turner joined Breedlove in double figures scoring 17 points, Lulu McKinney knocked down four three pointers and scored 14 points, Tamara Seda came off the bench to score 11 points, and Sparkle Taylor added 10 points.

16 second chance points were key for UTEP even though they were out rebounded 32-28 in the game. The Miners also handed out 18 assists led by Breedlove who dished out seven helpers, McKinney also recorded six assists.

Brown would finish with a game high 29-points for WKU, but the Tops were 1-of-7 from three point land in the second half.

The big question was how the Miners would bounce back after a bad loss on Thursday, and ladies answered in a big way by grabbing momentum, and a first place spot in the standings.

UTEP returns home next week for a two game home stand against FAU, and FIU.