Owls Fall to UTEP 62-61 in GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship

March 8, 2010

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Tulsa, Okla. - UTEP's Jareica Hughes scored a game-high 25 points, including the Miners' last seven points to lead 10-seed UTEP to a 62-61 victory over seven-seed Rice at the GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship Monday night at the University of Tulsa's Reynolds Center.

Jackie Stanley, D'Frant Smart, and senior Tara Watts each scored 14 points for the Owls, while Jessica Goswitz added 11.

Watts made four three-pointers on the night and ended her career with 150 career three-pointers made to become Rice's all-time career three-point shooter. She broke Jessica Garica's (1993-97) record of 147.

Two in the paint jumpers on isolation plays by Hughes broke a 55-55 tie, but the Owls battled to take a 60-59 lead. Smart scored on a driving layup and Watts' fourth three-pointer of the night put the Owls ahead with 2:10 remaining to play.

Hughes then scored again with 57 seconds left to put UTEP ahead 61-60. Following a Rice turnover, Hughes then made the second of two free throws with 22 ticks left to increase UTEP's lead to 62-60.

Stanley then misfired down low and Watts promptly fouled the Miners' Kristine Vitola who missed two free throws with four seconds left. UTEP's Hughes then fouled Smart who made the first but missed the second free throw.

Early in the contest, UTEP broke a 5-5 tie by going on a 9-2 run to forge a 14-7 lead at 11:58. The Miners reached their biggest lead of the half at 25-13 (8:35). Rice then outscored UTEP 8-0 as Jackie Stanley scored inside and Brianna Hypolite scored on two driving layups and Goswitz scored on a fast break lay up. A trey by Smart brought the Owls to within three at 29-26.

UTEP went into halftime with a 33-29 lead by making 54 percent of its shots. Rice managed to shoot 37 percent

UTEP now plays two-seed Houston at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. Anete Steinberga and Briana Green each scored 10 points.

In other action, it was UCF defeating Marshall 59-57 in the tournament's first game and East Carolina destroyed Southern Miss 102-64. In the first game of the evening session UAB beat Tulsa 52-45.





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