TU women fall to UTEP in C-USA opener
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Thursday, January 10, 2013
1/10/13 at 8:02 AM
Tulsa played tough and determined, but could not bring down UTEP as the Golden Hurricane women fell 71-64 to the defending Conference USA champions Wednesday night in the league basketball opener for both teams at the Reynolds Center.
UTEP (13-1, 1-0 in C-USA), which won its eighth straight game, was led by its top two scorers, Kayla Thornton and Anete Steinberga, who scored 23 and 18 points respectively. But the Golden Hurricane (5-9, 0-1) kept Chrishauna Parker, the third leg of UTEP's double-digit scoring trio to seven points.
Taleya Mayberry had another high-scoring game, leading TU with 21 points. Tiffani Couisnard and Kadan Brady each scored 14.
"I'm really pleased with how our kids fought," Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. "If we can continue to do that, I like our chances. This is a tough conference."
Tulsa had plenty of scoring opportunities, but could not capitalize when it needed to.
"A lot of it was on our end," Mayberry said. "Sometimes we got a little rush on our offense instead of taking it one possession at a time."
TU hit on 38 percent (21-of-56) of its shots, 36 percent (5-of-14) of its 3-pointers and sank 81 percent (17-of-21) of its free throws.
The Miners shot 43 percent (26-of-61) from the floor, made 30 percent (6-of-20) of their 3s and connected on 57 percent (13-of-23) of their foul shots. They outrebounded the Golden Hurricane 44-33 and held a 7-6 edge in steals.
Thornton made a few key plays that would mark the turning point. She stole a TU pass in the UTEP backcourt, then drove inside for a lay-up and added a 3 less than half a minute later. That extended the lead to 41-33 and forced a Tulsa timeout just over three minutes into the second half.
"It definitely was (a turning point)," Mayberry said. "We knew coming into this game that Kayla had expanded her game with 3-pointers and we knew it was a matter of getting there and closing out on her and she hit them."
The Golden Hurricane would not give up, drawing to within 54-50 on a jumper by Brady with 9:20 left.
But the Miners went on an 8-0 run, capped by free throws from Steinberga to make it 62-50 with 5:29 remaining, UTEP's largest advantage of the night.
Throughout most of the first half and the first two minutes of the second, Tulsa stayed within three to five points and even held a lead.
A lay-up by Couisnard followed by a free throw to complete a 3-point play gave Tulsa its first lead at 24-23 with 6:08 left in the first half. Mayberry added a free throw to increase the Hurricane's lead to two points.
But UTEP soon jumped back in front. A basket from Saidah Zuberi Allen broke a 27-27 tie with 1:23 to go before halftime. Thornton drilled a trey at the halftime buzzer to make it 32-27.
"We feel good about how we played," Mossman said. "And we'll take that feeling into Rice this weekend."
The Golden Hurricane women will tip off that match at 2 p.m. Sunday in Houston.
Original Print Headline: TU women sunk by UTEP
TU's Taleya Mayberry goes up for a shot against UTEP's Syerra Davis on Wednesday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World