Women’s Basketball: Turnovers cause fourth straight loss versus UTEP

Owls unable to regain early lead in 21-turnover night

Redshirt+senior+Ali+Gorrell+dribbles+down+the+court+during+the+Owls%27+78-66+loss+to+UTEP+Thursday.+Mohammed+F.+Emran+%7C+Staff+Photographer

Redshirt senior Ali Gorrell dribbles down the court during the Owls' 78-66 loss to UTEP Thursday. Mohammed F. Emran | Staff Photographer

Chris Libreros, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic women’s basketball was looking to snap a three-game losing streak at home on Thursday night when it was tasked with facing a hot UTEP Miners team.

UTEP was in the midst of a six-game streak of its own leading into the game.

Both streaks continued, as the Miners (15-1, 6-0 C-USA)  picked their seventh straight win with a 78-66 victory while handing the Owls their fourth straight loss.

The Owls (10-7, 2-4 C-USA) came out aggressively from tipoff, jumping out to a 7-0 lead early against the best defense in Conference USA.

Much of FAU’s early success came from ball movement, as the Owls recorded assists on 10 of their 15 baskets in the first half.

But following the first quarter, the Owls struggled to take care of the ball, finishing with 21 turnovers.

“Their style of play is to try and get the other team rattled and they rattled us,” senior Ali Gorrell said after the game. Gorrell finished the game with 20 points and was the only Owl to record double-digit points.

The Miners, who were held by the Owls’ half court set early in the game, only shot 33 percent from the field in the first quarter before forcing six straight turnovers and going on an 11-point run just before the end of the half.

“First half, tons of ball movement. We got the shots we needed,” head women’s basketball coach Kellie Lewis-Jay said. “In the second half, that all went away, because we were hesitant because that’s what their pressure will do to you.”

UTEP, led by guard Jenzel Nash, went on to take control for the rest of the second half and never surrendered the lead again.

“I think the biggest thing is defense,” Gorrell said. “With conference play, the intensity is up so much more and so we gotta make sure that we have the defensive intensity the entire game.”

The Owls will try to break the losing streak when they play the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners (6-10, 2-4 C-USA) on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Christopher Libreros is a contributing writer for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.