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El Paso, TX — Five different Miners reached double figures in scoring & UTEP forced 22 turnovers only to have visiting Charlotte ride the hot hand of Hillary Sigmon (32 points) to pull off a 92-86 victory at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.
The 178 combined points tie as the eighth-highest sum in school history, and it marks just the fourth time in the Keitha Adams era that that Miners (13-4, 2-2 C-USA) sustained a loss when scoring 80+ points. They are now 61-4 all time in the situation.
UTEP looked to be in good shape for most of the first half, leading the 49ers (9-8, 3-1 C-USA) by eight (34-26) with 4:26 to play. Charlotte started to get hot down the stretch, closing the period on a 14-4 run to grab a 40-38 halftime lead.
The two sides traded baskets over the first seven minutes of the second stanza before a 10-0 push by the 49ers afforded them their largest advantage of the contest (65-52) with 10:32 to play. The Miners weren’t done, though, with a 10-5 counter to reduce the deficit to five (67-62) with 7:41 remaining in regulation. To its credit, Charlotte never let it get any closer. Every Miners’ run was answer, and Adams’ charges were saddled with their first home setback of the 2013-14 season.
Rebounding (43-40), and second-chance points (22-14) favored the Orange and Blue, who hustled their way to 23 offensive rebounds to help overcome an off shooting night (31-of-82, 37.8 percent).
Chrishauna Parker recorded her third double-double Parker (10 points, 13 rebounds) on the year while Kayla Thornton (18 points, nine rebounds), Jenzel Nash (17 points), Kristine Vitola (17 points) and Kelli Willingham (10 points) also hit double figures but the 49ers simply had too much offense.
Sigmon was the main culprit with 32 points- on 12-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-7 from beyond-the-arc, but she had help. Gabby Tyler (22 points, 12 rebounds) enjoyed a big night as well. Aside from the turnover woes, Charlotte was extremely effective on offense. It finished at 61.8 percent from the floor (34-of-55), including a hard-to-fathom 69.6 percent (16-of-23) effort in the second stanza.
UTEP mixed up its defenses in an attempt to get the 49ers out of rhythm but it could not find anything that achieved sustained success. Ny Hammonds (14 points) and Lefty Webster (13 points) also reached double figures for the 49ers, who surprisingly didn’t run out of gas despite playing only eight players.
The Miners’ reserves provided 24 points, with 17 from Nash, while Charlotte’s back-ups managed only 15 but with the play of Sigmon and Tyler it proved to be a moot point.
UTEP will look to regain its winning ways when it plays host to Southern Miss at 7:05 p.m. MST on Wednesday.
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