Nov. 29, 2003
San Antonio, Texas - Despite putting together a 14-0 run late in the second half, Western Carolina was unable to complete the comeback as UTEP topped the Catamounts, 74-66, in the end. Western drops to 1-3 with the loss while the Miners improve to 1-2.
UTEP dominated the floor and the boards in the first period, heading into the lockerroom with a 45-30 advantage, sparked by Ana Valtierra's 12 points for the Miners. The Cats were held to just eight total rebounds and 32.3 percent shooting. Senior Tiffany Hamm led the way for WCU with 16 points and two assists in the half, including a perfect 4-of-4 showing at the free throw line. Western was 8-of-9 as a team from the charity stripe and forced 10 UTEP turnovers, while stealing the ball five times.
Western Carolina came out firing in the second half, going on an 8-0 run to open the period before UTEP answered with a steal and a layup by Charnette Phelps on the other end. With seven minutes to go in the game, the Miners held a commanding 66-50 lead. However, a fired up Catamount squad was not about to give up as Western compiled a 14-0 run behind the scoring of junior Jennifer Gardner who netted six of her 10 second-half points during the span.
With the score 66-64, Western was poised for the comeback victory, but the Miners had other plans as Angie McGee converted on an old fashioned three point play to stretch UTEP's lead to five. With one minute left on the clock, UTEP had a 73-64 lead. Hamm scored the bucket to try to get the Cats back in the game, but too many fouls kept the Miners on the line for much of the second half, which resulted in the final score of 74-66.
The Catamounts were led by Hamm who tied her career-high 28 points for the second time this season on a career-high 11-of22 shooting. Hamm went 6-for-8 at the line and added four rebounds. Yoneko Allen recorded 21 points, posting a career-tying five treys for the second consecutive night. Gardner also scored in double figures with 10 points, and led the Cats with seven boards, five on the offensive end.
UTEP was led by Valtierra's 17 points and 12 rebounds. Three other Miners also scored in double figures, greatly in part to the team's 28-of-35 scoring from the free throw line.
After shooting 52 percent from the floor in the first half, Western held UTEP to just 25 percent shooting to end the game. WCU shot 35.2 percent on the night. The Catamounts forced 19 UTEP turnovers for the game while only committing 13. The Miners outrebounded the Cats, 45-35.
The Cats return home after a four-game road swing to host Clemson in the team's home-opener Thursday, Dec. 4. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm in the RAC. Tickets are on sale now; buy one for $5, get one free.