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UTEP Rolls Over TCU 79-71, Moves On To WNIT Quarterfinals

UTEP pulled out another stellar defensive performance to shut down the TCU Horned Frogs.

UTEP found themselves in an early hole, but the Miners shut down TCU's potent offense, putting on a defensive clinic in the final three quarters to barge their way into the WNIT Quarterfinals with a 79-71 victory in front of 7,024 Miner faithful.

Starr Breedlove, Jenzel Nash, and Cameasha Turner combined for 61 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists, while UTEP (29-4) held TCU (18-15) to just 38.6 percent shooting from the floor in the game.

The Miners also frustrated the sixth best 3-point shooting team in the nation to a 4-of-14 mark from downtown, and owned the boards for majority of the game despite a 38-36 edge on the glass in the end.

Both teams came out full court pressing in the opening possessions of the game, but it was TCU's efficient offense that took center stage in the first ten minutes.

The Frogs started 7-of-12 from the field, hitting five in a row at one point which helped an 7-0 run to push their early lead to 22-11 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.

UTEP would answer with six straight over the next minute or so, but the Frogs shot 60 percent from the field in the opening quarter and led 24-17 after the first quarter.

The Miners worst case scenario also unfolded in the first quarter as TCU's star guard Zahna Medley only scored four points in the opening quarter after the Frogs put up 24 points.

On just her third attempt from the floor, Medley knocked down a 3-pointer which put TCU out in front 29-17 just a minute into the second quarter.

It looked like it was going to be a rough night for the Miners, but they started to roll via a 24-5 run in the final nine minutes of the half, fueled by the Miners forcing seven TCU turnovers, and the Frogs shooting an ice cold 2-of-12 during the UTEP run.

UTEP's pressure defense above the 3-point line piled up 11 points off turnovers in the first half, nine coming in second quarter during their run to jump out to a 41-34 lead at halftime.

Jenzel Nash opened the second half scoring with a 3-pointer, pushing her over 1,000 points for her career, and gave UTEP a 44-34 lead just seconds into the third quarter.

TCU went 2-of-11 from the field in the third quarter, meanwhile UTEP kept rolling on both ends of the floor to lead 58-43 after three quarters.

In a 19-minute span from the nine minute mark of the second quarter when UTEP was trailing 29-17, the Miners went on a 41-14 run that lasted until the end of the third quarter.

At one point, UTEP scored 18 straight, and closed out the Frogs with key defensive rebounds during the stretch.

The Frogs cut the UTEP lead down to nine twice in the fourth quarter, but Chrishuanna Parker dropped the final dagger with a wide open 3-point dagger with 2:34 left as UTEP had TCU on the ropes, and wobbling leading 73-61.

Medley scored TCU's final eight points in the final 28 seconds as the Frogs never quit, but the Miners controlled the entire second half and will face the Oregon Ducks Monday night at 7:05 in the Don Haskins Center.

Breedlove went a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line and led all scorers with 21 points, and also added eight assists.  Turner, and Nash each dropped 20 points, Nash added seven rebounds, and Parker finished with nine points, and 10 rebounds.

It was the simple UTEP Women's Basketball formula we've seen pretty much all year.

Force turnovers, execute in the open floor, knock down shots in stretches, and open up a huge run to put the other team away which will propel UTEP into WNIT Quarterfinals for the second time in the past three seasons.