clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UTEP Women's Basketball: Controversial ending sends UTEP into C-USA Tournament Semifinals over UAB

New, 3 comments

UTEP moves on with a 62-59 overtime escape against UAB.

It's March, so wild stuff is supposed happen on the hardwood.

But no one could script UTEP and UAB's Conference USA Tournament quarterfinal thriller.

UTEP survived an overtime thriller that ended in controversy, despite shooting 10-of-21 from the free throw line, and 33.3 percent from the field in the game.

It was a physical, defensive slanted, offensive struggle in the first half which lasted the entire game, and extra period.

UTEP built a 14-8 lead with 3:23 to go in the first quarter, but UAB closed the gap as UTEP led 14-12 after the first quarter.

Things got sloppy in the second quarter as each team had a stretch of multiple turnovers, and empty trips.

UTEP was able finish the half on a 12-4 run, with UAB reeling on the offensive end finishing the half 2-of-11 from the field.

UAB shot 31 percent in the opening half with 10 turnovers, while UTEP took a 28-20 lead at halftime and shot 41.9 percent, but went 0-of-8 from 3-point territory.

Cameasha Turner would break to the 0-for streak from deep with a 3-pointer that stretched UTEP's lead to 33-20 at the 7:31 mark of the third quarter.

UAB would answer with a 10-2 spurt to cut the lead to 35-30 with 2:40 left in the third, meanwhile UTEP went on a cold 1-of-8 stretch from the field.

Lulu McKinney then hit a 3-pointer, followed up by a Chrishuanna Parker layup to put UTEP back ahead 40-30 heading into the final minute of the third quarter.

Both Turner, and Starr Breedlove started the fourth quarter on the bench each with four fouls, allowing UAB to make things interesting.

The Blazers went on a 7-0 run, finished off by a 3-pointer from Whytney Singleton with 5:34 left in the fourth, trimming UTEP's double-digit lead to a 45-42 edge.

Turner would foul out after being called for a charge at the 3:25 mark with UTEP clinging on to a 46-44 lead.

In the midst of a three minute UTEP scoring drought, Brittany Winborne tied the game up at 46-all with 50 seconds left, but Starr Breedlove answered with a clutch 3-pointer to end the drought, and put UTEP up 49-46 with 22 seconds left.

After a UAB timeout, Keitha Adams rolled the dice, and fouled immediately on the inbound sending Chelsee Black to the free throw line who made both with 15 seconds left, and UTEP holding on to a 49-48 lead.

Jenzel Nash split a pair of free throws, then Black swooped in from the baseline for a layup to tie things back up at 50 with 4.7 seconds left.

UTEP had two chances in the final four seconds, but Starr Breedlove missed a runner from around the free throw line, and Parker came up short on a put back sending the game into overtime.

UAB would score four straight to open the extra period, but Breedlove dropped a 3-pointer from the corner, then McKinney banged home a triple as UTEP took a 56-54 with under two minutes left.

T'erra Lewis tied the game back up again this time it was 56-all with a pair of free throws with 1:10 left in overtime.

Nash split a pair at the free throw line to put UTEP back up 57-56 with 50 seconds left, and then the Miners were able to get a defensive stop with 27 seconds left which forced UAB to foul, and put Nash back at the free throw line.

Jenzel swished both this time, giving UAB the ball back with UTEP leading 59-56 with 24.3 seconds left.

Adams would again call for the quick foul, this time Black split the free throws,  then McKinney would give UTEP a 61-57 lead after calmly making two freebies with 22 seconds left.

UAB cut it to 61-59 on the next possession after an offensive rebound, and wide open layup by Kayla Anderson with seven seconds left, then all hell broke loose.

Breedlove missed the second of two free throws with UTEP still leading 61-59, but Chrishuanna Parker soared for the offensive rebound and split a pair of free throws with three seconds left.

Game over right?  Kinda...

Winborne grabbed Parker's miss on the second attempt and gave up to Black who banked home a half-court heave that was clearly out her hand with one-tenth of a second left on the TV broadcast, but the refs waved it off, and UTEP tiptoed their way to the semifinal amid the eye brow raising call.

McKinney and Nash each finished with 11 points, Breedlove added 10 points.  Sparkle Taylor and Lawna Kennedy each added eight points, and Parker finished with 10 rebounds.

UAB outrebounded UTEP 45-44, they also blocked 10 UTEP shots in the game.

UTEP turned it over 13 times compared to 18 turnovers for UAB, the Blazers had 18 second chance points, but it wasn't enough.

Survive and advance was in full effect, but the Miners defense,  and Parker's rebounding proved to be differences in the end.

"The basketball gods were with us today."  Keitha Adams said in her post game press conference.

UTEP will now await the winner of Old Dominion and Charlotte in the semifinal which tips off at 9 a.m. Mountain Time tomorrow on the CBS Sports Network.