Nov. 10, 2012
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EL PASO, Texas - It wasn't the season-opening outcome that they were hoping for, but the LMU women's basketball team displayed the relentless fiery attitude first-year head coach Charity Elliott has been preaching in a tough 79-51 loss to UTEP Saturday in the Don Haskins Center.
Plagued by turnovers (20) and a cold shooting performance (28 percent), the Lions (0-1) fell behind early and were never able to right that ship in their ninth consecutive season opener on the road.
Alex Cowling led LMU with 14 points, but managed just 4-for-16 from the field to go along with a 5-for-6 performance from the free-throw line. Melinda Gomez added 11 points while Mackenzie Kerins came off the bench to chip in 10.
The Miners had a trio of players in double figures led by Kristine Vitola with a game-high 21 to go along with 12 rebounds. Kayla Thornton and Chrishauna added 15 points apiece. UTEP also won big on the boards, holding a 53-39 advantage, including 22 offensive rebounds.
UTEP came out of the gates on fire, opening up a 13-0 run before a Cowling free throw at 16:17 gave the Lions their first point of the game. Kayla Thornton accounted for eight of the Miners' first 15 points, going 3-for-3 from the field, including a pair of treys.
The Lions struggled to find rhythm in their offense, shooting just 24 percent from the field in the opening frame. UTEP, meanwhile, hit 16-of-33 shots (48.5 percent) in the opening 20 minutes, including turning 11 LMU turnovers into 14 points.
A three pointer by Hazel Ramirez
and a layup by Cowling cut LMU's deficit to 13, 30-17, but the Miners continued to stay hot, taking a 45-24 lead into the locker room.
The start of the second half was much of the same as the Miners opened with a 17-4 run to pull ahead, 62-28. UTEP's shooting cooled slightly in the second half as they hit 34 percent from the field and just 9-for-18 from the free throw line.
The Lions look to bounce back as their season-opening road swing concludes on Monday, Nov. 12, at New Mexico State. Tip off from Pan American Center in Las Cruces is 5:30 p.m. (PT).