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UTEP Bows Out Of WNIT With 71-67 Setback To Oregon

UTEP’s magical run in the 2016 WNIT came to a close with a 71-67 setback to visiting Oregon in front of a roaring 9,055 fans at the Don Haskins Center Monday evening. The 2016 C-USA regular-season champion Miners (29-5) conclude the year with a school-record tying 29 wins while the Pacific 12 Ducks (24-10) advance to lock up with South Dakota (30-6) in the WNIT semifinals.

UTEP surged out of the gates to the tune of a 27-9 lead with 7:51 to play in the second quarter but to their credit the Ducks were able to weather the storm. Oregon trimmed the deficit down to six (30-24) at the break and continued to chip away in the third quarter. The Ducks managed to pull ahead for the first time of the tilt in the fourth quarter, and they led, 58-53, with 6:56 remaining in regulation.

Spurred on by the crowd, the Orange and Blue ripped off seven straight points on the way to regaining the lead (60-58) with 3:19 to play. But once again, Oregon had an answer by tallying the next 10 points in the tilt to grab control for good. UTEP played hard to the very end before running out of time in sustaining the first home loss on the year.

After a slow shooting start (missed 3-of-19), Oregon hit 22 of its final 30 tries to finish at 51.0 percent (25-49) from the floor. Included among that was effort of 8-14 (57.1 percent) from three-point range. It also took care of business at the charity stripe by going 13-16 (81.3 percent).

UTEP, which shot 39.7 percent (27-68) and was 4-12 (33.3 percent) at the charity stripe), nearly compensated for that by giving Oregon fits with its pressure. The Miners forced 20 turnovers, leading to 28 points. UTEP also held advantages in fastbreak points (12-2) and bench scoring (11-3)

“We just ran into a really good team that played well,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We just came up a little bit short tonight . I’m very, very proud of our team. They’ve played hard all year, won a conference championship. These kids had tremendous focus all season and didn’t drop the ball very many times. I have nothing but positive thoughts about this team because I’ve loved coaching them.I’mproud of El Paso and am very thankful for the tremendous support.

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