EL PASO, Texas -- UTEP led for over 29 minutes of game action, but a late Rice run proved to be the difference in a 62-53 loss on Saturday in the Tudor Fieldhouse.
Trailing 52-50 with 4:25 remaining, the Owls (10-2, 1-2 C-USA) closed the game by scoring 12 of the final 13 points to top the Miners (9-3, 2-1 C-USA).
Throughout the game, UTEP made plays to keep the Miners in a position to win against a quality opponent on the road.
“I absolutely loved the way that we played today,” UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win. We led the game for about 30 minutes, and I felt in control the whole night. I never felt like we were going to lose the game. In the fourth quarter things got away from us a bit, but even then, I was still banking on the resiliency of our kids. Bottom line is we just missed too many layups and too many free throws. Hopefully we will learn from this, grow and be better.”
Adhel Tac tallied a career-high 15 points on a 7-of-12 day from the floor. She also contributed four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Avery Crouse joined Tac in double figures with 12 points and Boyd had 11 of her own.
UTEP was 18-of-52 (34.6 percent) from the floor and 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) from the perimeter. Rice went 20-of-44 (45.5 percent) overall and 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from 3-point land. A 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) clip at the free throw stripe helped to push the Owls over the top.
The Miners return to the Don Haskins Center on Jan. 7 to host LA Tech at 1 p.m.