UTEP ended their four game road trip 0-4 as a lengthy Southern Miss run that wrapped around halftime was too much for the young Miners to overcome falling 73-48 Saturday afternoon.
Sparkle Taylor led UTEP with 16 points, and freshman Jakeira Ford added 13 points, but UTEP shot 36.5 percent from the floor, and could not find away around the Golden Eagles defensive pressure giving up 20 points off turnovers on the afternoon.
The Miners kept it close early on in the first half, but went cold and started handing out free points via a tough Southern Miss. full court press.
Southern Miss. also dominated the glass and led 26-18 with 7:55 left in the second quarter after a 3-pointer from Brittny Norris. Although UTEP would respond with some tough defense, then a 3-pointer from the Miners’ Katarina Zec trimmed the lead to 31-29 with 2:05 left until halftime.
The Golden Eagles finished the half on a 8-0 run to take a 39-29 halftime lead, then the run would extend to 19-0 as UTEP went scoreless for nearly seven minutes into the third quarter with Southern Miss leading 50-29 to cap the run.
UTEP struggled with Southern Miss’ defensive pressure turning it over times 26 times, 13 in each half, and shot 27.3 percent from the field in the second half.
Taylor scored all 16 of her points in the first half, but only played three minutes in the second half. UTEP scored only 19 second half points, 13 coming from Ford.
USM outrebounded UTEP 48-31, and also put 17 second chance points on the scoreboard as they collected more offensive rebounds than defensive boards.
UTEP will be at home for their next four games starting next Thursday against North Texas.