The Tulsa women's basketball team dropped a 97-66 decision to UTEP on Saturday afternoon at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. TU fell to 7-6 on the season and 1-1 in Conference USA, while the Miners moved to 13-2 overall and 2-0 in the league.
"We missed Stevi Parker today, more defensively and for her rebounding, but it is awful how many rebounds we gave up," coach Matilda Mossman said. "They got so many second shots. They just worked us over on the glass, they are big and physical, and if they aren't the best team in the league I don't know who is.
"I am proud of our effort and the way we played. Our team didn't play badly. We gave great effort, but UTEP is really good and tonight they were really, really good."
Liesl Spoerl and Kadan Brady both came in off the bench and had a team-leading 12 points, while Ashley Clark added 10, and Kelsee Grovey recorded nine. Brady also had a team-high nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
Clark hit the first two baskets to give TU a 4-0 lead at the 16:44 mark, but UTEP went on a 14-1 run for a 14-5 advantage with 13:30 on the clock. The Miners continued to increase their lead to a first-half best of 16 twice, including a 50-34 lead with 3.5 seconds left in the half. Grovey hit a three-pointer at the buzzer and the Golden Hurricane trailed 50-37 at the break.
Tulsa hit a solid 46-percent of their shots in the first half, including 54 percent from 3-point range, but the Miners were 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. The Golden Hurricane struggled from the charity stripe, however, hitting just 3-of-7 (42 percent), while UTEP was 3-of-4 (75 percent).
The Miners continued to have solid shooting and rebounding in the second frame, outscoring Tulsa, 47-29. They had a 42-26 advantage in points in the paint, a 21-7 lead in points off turnovers, a 19-12 lead in second chance points, a 16-3 lead in fast break points and a 37-32 lead in points off the bench.
TU shot 40 percent from the field, 38 percent from behind the arc, and was just 4-of-12 for 33-percent from the free throw line in the contest. UTEP finished with 46 percent shooting from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range, and hit 13-of-16 from the charity stripe for 81 percent.
The Miners had a 53-36 lead in rebounds, a 20-9 advantage in assists, a 9-4 lead in steals and a 4-1 advantage in blocks.
UTEP was led by Jenzel Nash who posted 24 points, followed by Kayla Thornton with 22, Kelli Willingham with 17 and Kristine Vitola with 15. Thornton had a team-high 20 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Tulsa will return to action on Wednesday, January 15 against UAB. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.