FRISCO, TX — Senior Jordan Alexander (13 points), Katarina Zec (12 points) and Ariona Gill (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring but 11th-seed UTEP was knocked off by third-seed Middle Tennessee, 66-44, in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Basketball Championshipsr Thursday afternoon. The Miners end their season with a record of 9-22.
Coming off the thrilling double-overtime victory against Marshall, UTEP was unable to conjure up that magic for a second straight day. MT scored the first seven points in the game on the way to leading by 11 (21-10) through 10 minutes of action. UTEP tried to hang tough, trailing by 10 (31-21) with 3:22 to play in the half. MT, however, got hot and scored the final 12 points in the frame to put the Orange and Blue down by 22 (43-21) heading into the locker room.
“Middle Tennessee is really good and they played extraordinarily well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “I’m really impressed, but not surprised with how they played. I’m just so pleased and impressed with our team, specifically Jordan Alexander. We’re here today because of her and the strength of seven young ladies, who decided to not give up and not to be a victim of circumstances. I do we wish we would have played a little bit better and been a bit more competitive in this game.”
The Miners, who had seven players dressed for the 12th consecutive contest, still somehow played hard despite being on the court for 50 minutes in the exhilarating upset of the Thundering Herd (64-56, 2OT, March 13). The effort, though, didn’t translate into shots falling. UTEP finished at 26.8 percent (11-41) from the floor, which was hindered by a 20.0 readout (3-15) from 3-point range. The Miners did a solid job at the charity stripe, connecting on 70.4 percent (19-27).