Marshall women bounced by UTEP
TULSA, Okla. -- UTEP women's basketball made a Feb. 14 visit to Huntington, and Miners head coach Keitha Adams said it felt more like Alaska because of how cold her shooters were.
Marshall defeated UTEP that day in a 12-point game in Cam Henderson Center.
It was much warmer Wednesday at the Conference USA women's basketball tournament. UTEP shooters weren't exactly scorching the Tulsa Convention Center nets, but they thawed out enough to move past Marshall, 70-59, and end the Thundering Herd season with a first-round ouster.
"The last time we played them we were just so poor offensively," Adams said.
Fifth-seeded UTEP (21-9), the defending conference tournament champion, moves to the quarterfinals Thursday against No. 4 seed UAB (18-11).
Marshall, last in the regular season and No. 12 tournament seed, ends at 9-22 in head coach Matt Daniel's debut on the Herd bench.
Anete Steinberga, a 6-foot-2 senior for UTEP from Latvia who was an all-conference first-team selection, turned her day around by scoring 14 of her 20 in the second half when the Miners expanded on a six-point advantage.
Steinberga watched the end of the first half on the bench and came back out mad, she said.
"In the first half we kind of struggled," she said. "I just focused on doing my best to help my team."
UTEP's other all-conference player, 6-1 junior Kayla Thornton who made the second team, posted 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Marshall 6-3 sophomore Chukwuka Ezeigbo also turned in a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while 5-10 junior Suporia Dickens netted 15 points. Sophomore guard Shay Weaver made two 3-point field goal attempts and set the Herd record for 3-pointers in a season with 69.
Weaver mentioned shooting as a difference in Marshall beating UTEP, then losing the rematch. The Herd hit 42 percent of its shots at home and 34.5 percent Wednesday.
Daniel said the difference was Marshall hasn't won a road game all year, but he was shortchanging his team. Marshall was only 1-11 in road games, but did have a Dec. 8 victory at Southern Illinois.
"We're fighting with what we've got," Daniel said. "We've just got to get more tools and more options, and we're working really hard on that."
UTEP led by 39-33 at halftime and Marshall kept it close by sinking five 3-point shots. The Miners stretched the lead early in the second half.
Thornton credited UTEP winning to playing defense.
"No (defensive) stance, no chance," the El Paso, Texas, native said.
What she was saying is the Miners needed to get serious about playing defense in the second half if they wanted to advance. She said "No stance, no dance" is something Adams tells the players a lot.