HOUSTON, Texas - UTEP women's basketball won't come home from Houston with any numerical victories, but their performances this weekend against defending C-USA champion Rice should leave them feeling optimistic about their Conference USA.
UTEP trailed by just two points at halftime Saturday, but a 4th-quarter Rice run proved too much to overcome as UTEP fell 55-43 in the 2nd of a two-game weekend series.
Katia Gallegos led all scorers with 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds.
UTEP's appeared to go into the break with a one point lead after Destiny Thurman knocked down a corner three-pointer as the horn sounded. But officials ruled a shot clock violation before the ball left Thurman's hands and Rice (8-1, 4-0 C-USA) maintained a 22-20 lead.
An 8-0 Rice spurt midway through the final period put the Owls up 48-33, and when Avery Crouse's lay-in attempt fell off the mark under one minute, UTEP's fate was sealed.
The Miners (5-4, 2-2 C-USA) followed up a strong effort Friday in which they lost 74-68.
After two games hanging tough with the projected conference favorite on the road, UTEP coach Kevin Baker has to feel good about his standing to get into the C-USA top four.
The Miners return home to the Haskins Center next weekend for a two-game series with North Texas, kicking off Friday night televised on ESPN+.
North Texas is 4-0 to begin conference play.