Women Lose Fourth In Row At UTEP

EL PASO - Alix Barnette led the Thundering Herd with 15 points, tied for a season high, but it was not enough. A late run pushed the Miners of UTEP to a 71-62 win over the Marshall women's basketball team Sunday afternoon at the Don Haskins Center. Tynikki Crook added 13 points and MU-best seven rebounds in Herd's fourth consecutive loss in Conference USA play.

Marshall fell to 12-11, 5-5 in C-USA. UTEP (13-10, 6-4 in C-USA) finished the contest on an 11-6 run to grab the win. The Miners are now 10-5 at the Haskins Center, with a program best third-straight year they have had 10-plus wins at home.

The Miners had the hot hand early on, opening up a quick 7-0 lead over the first two minutes of the contest. But Marshall closed the half with a 9-2 run to take a 33-31 lead at the half. Chantelle Handy finished off the period connecting on her third three-pointer of the season. Marshall trailed by five in the second half, but cut the lead to two points, 51-49.

The Miners went on a 11-2 run to take the lead at the 12 minute mark and never trailed again. They would score 9-of-11 points on its way to a 60-51 lead, the largest advantage either team enjoyed in the game. Four difference Miners scored during the run. With the Herd forced to foul late, Jareica Hughes went 6-of-6 from the charity stripe in the last minute of the game to seal the win.

The Herd shot 41 percent from the field, compared to 39 percent shooting by the Miners, while the rebounds were tied at 38-38. A major advantage for UTEP came from the three-point line as the Miners hit seven threes (7-of-15, 47 percent) while the Herd hit only four of 11 tries, 36 percent. The biggest edge was UTEP hitting 20-of-25 shots from the free throw line, while Marshall only got to the line 15 times, hitting ten of those free throws. The Herd also had 16 turnovers to just ten on the Miners.

Hughes led the Miners with 15 points, hitting 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Timika Williams was 5-of-12 from the field and 3-for-4 at the line for 13 points, plus a game-high 11 rebounds. Deitra Caldwell scored 12 points, hitting 3-of-7 from three.

For the Herd, Alyssa Hammond, Casey Baker and Keona Brooks each had nine points, and Hammond added five rebounds. Barnett hit 6-of-10 shots from the field, and 1-of-3 from three, on her way to a team-high 15 points. Baker was 2-of-5 from three.

Marshall will return to the Cam Henderson Center for two games next weekend. First up is UCF on Friday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. The Knights beat Marshall for the first time ever in Orlando back on January 31. On Sunday, Marshall will host the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss in a game that will be on ESPN2 nationwide. That game is also the eighth-annual "Jam The Cam" for the women's team, with tickets only $1 each, thanks to boosters and sponsors picking up the rest of the normal prices. MU women's basketball is heard on the MU student station, WMUL 88.1 FM.

Also early on Sunday will be the 10th annual "Sweetheart Clinic" for girls 12-and-under as part of "National Girls and Womens In Sports Day" that always falls around Valentine's Day in mid-February. The event has been held since 1998, and over 1,300 young ladies have spent the day with coaches from Marshall's women's sports - basketball, cheerleaders, golf, soccer, softball (out of town this weekend, however), swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball. The event's registration was closed on Friday, as 150 girls were signed up as usual. A Pepsi-Cola and Little Caesar's Pizza party after the sports will lead to the players being allowed to attend the MU-USM game. Parents and siblings can also get in for just $1 each.

Come Friday and Sunday, "Jam The Cam" for both games and help the Herd break the losing streak with a two-game winning streak. The MU women also have home games left with Houston and Rice on Feb. 26 and 28, respectively. Winning games means a higher seed for The Herd in the Conference USA Tournament at Tulane's Fogelman Arena on March 5-8 in New Orleans, La.

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