The UTEP Lady Miners used dominant offensive rebounding and forced several timely turnovers to snap the Lady Eagles’ three-game win streak at Reed-Green Coliseum
The Lady Eagles’ struggles on the glass were only part of the problem: they also turned the ball over 16 times.
The Lady Eagles started off strong and held a 15-11 lead before three straight Lady Miner three-pointers gave them the lead. UTEP then went on an 11-6 run to give them a 31-24 lead going into halftime.
Halftime did not cool off the Lady Miners as they opened the second half on a 10-0 run. The Lady Eagles climbed back into the game by outscoring UTEP 18-4 and cut their lead to just four points, 53-49.
However, every time USM got close to taking over, they turned the ball over and UTEP would capitalize, making several timely three-pointers. UTEP had 24 points off 16 USM turnovers.
But it did not stop there for the Lady Eagles; they were also outrebounded 42-31 and allowed 18-second chance points.
“You have to say hats off to UTEP because they played basically punched us in the mouth,” head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We didn’t fight back; instead we allowed them to take total control in
that first half. I’m pleased with what we did in the second half as far as effort. Our effort was very good in the second half. We played
with a purpose.”
Kierra Jordan and Jerontay Clemons were the leading scorers for USM, adding 14 and 12 points respectively. Jordan Clemons added seven rebounds to lead the Lady Eagles
on the boards.
“They got every 50-50 ball,” McNelis said. “They scored off offensive rebounds. Today, they were the most physical team on the floor and we did not handle the physical play.”
USM also struggled from the free throw line, shooting 10-25. USM did lead UTEP in one category as they shot 44.2 percent to UTEP’s 41.1.
UTEP ended the game on another huge run, 13-5 and made the scoreboard not indicate how close the game actually was.
Cameasha Turner led the Miners with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds while Irene Gari chipped in 10 points.
The Miners finished the game with a 71-59 win.
Southern Miss will now travel to Middle Tennessee for a Jan. 15 slate before traveling to UAB on Jan. 17. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. against the Blue Raiders.