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Senior Anete Steinberga poured in 21 points while Chrishauna Parker equaled her career-high with 15 rebounds but UTEP was dealt a 59-47 setback at Marshall Thursday evening.
The Miners (18-5, 6-4 C-USA) got good looks, but aside from Steinberga (8-of-16), couldn't get them to fall. UTEP finished at 28.8 percent from the floor (17-59), but it gave itself a chance in the contest through its tenacity on defense and some timely triples.
UTEP wrapped a 12-0 run around halftime to whittle a 14-point Thundering Herd (8-15, 2-8 C-USA) lead (27-13, 2:06 first half) down to two (27-25) early in the second stanza. Steinberga started it with a post move, followed by triples by Irene Gari and Cameasha Turner in the final minute of the first half.
The momentum of the 8-0 run carried over to the second half, with Steinberga sandwiching a turnover by Marshall with consecutive scores in the paint. The stage was seemingly set for a second big Miner comeback in as many contests, but to its credit, the home side grouped.
Marshall put together a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to regain control of the game. The Orange and Blue continued to battle from that point on, but were unable to overcome the balanced attack by the Thundering Herd.
Suporia Dickens tallied 15 points to lead a quartet of players in double figures for Marshall, which hit 42.0 percent (21-of-50) from the floor. It did ample damage from distance, nailing 10-of-25 tries (40.0). Dickens, who was 4-of-34 from three-point range on the year entering the contest, sunk an improbable 4-of-5.
"We got good looks at shots, but we just didn't make them," UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. "You like your chances usually when you hold people in the 50's but we just weren't very good offensively tonight."
Kelli Willingham buoyed Steinberga with nine points while Parker pitched in six and Gari added five. Turner chipped in four points from the pine.
UTEP forced the Thundering Herd into making 20 turnovers, which led to 14 points. MU won the rebounding battle, 41-34, but only seven of those were offensive. It did, though, convert those seven offensive boards into second-chance points.
The Miners will look to regain their winning ways when they play at UCF at 12 p.m. MST Sunday. The game will be broadcast locally in El Paso on 1150 AM.
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