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UTEP women rally past North Alabama behind Erin Wilson's career night

For so much of Sunday's game against North Alabama, the UTEP women's basketball team's path to victory and out of a three-game losing streak went right through a minefield.

Even when matters were at their grimmest in a game where the Miners didn't lead until 5:00 to play, senior Erin Wilson was giving everything she had to get her team through it.

More: CUSA women's basketball standings

In the end, what she had was 26 points and 11 rebounds in a 95-88 victory where at times Wilson's will power seemed to be the only thing keeping UTEP from getting blown out.

What they said

"I didn't want to lose," Wilson said. "I tried to bring that energy to my teammates. We had a tough trip coming off two loses on the road in Florida. This game meant a lot to get back in our rhythm."

Trailing throughout, down by as much as 12 in the second half and down eight with 7:30 to go, UTEP's long uphill fight reached the top when Wilson's three-point play gave the Miners their first lead, 77-76, with 5:00 to play. They had trailed for 33:58 of the first 35 minutes, with the ties being brief after big Miner comebacks.

UTEP never got a handle on North Alabama's offense, as the Lions shot 53 percent and made 12-of-21 3-pointers, but found enough offense of their own after some struggles in the previous two losses at the St. Pete's Classic in Florida.

"In the first half they were kicking our tails," coach Keitha Adams said. "We could have folded and fallen apart. But we battled, we didn't lose our composure.

"It's tough playing a team that shoots a lot of 3s and we didn't guard it. We could have fallen apart but we kept our composure and got a good effort in the fourth quarter."

How it happened

Wilson had seven offensive rebounds in a game where UTEP won the boards 39-23 and had a 15-5 advantage in second-chance points. The Miners won rebounding 22-6 in the second half when they shot 58 percent.

The Miners needed all of that as at times North Alabama looked like it would shoot UTEP out of its own gym. But down 74-66 as the game neared the 7-minute mark, the Miners got five stops in a six-possession span and went on a 14-2 run.

North Alabama made plenty more shots after that, but UTEP closed the game by scoring on its final 11 possessions.

That included a revival from star Jane Asinde, who was limited all night by foul trouble but had back-to-back three-point plays in the final 2:00 when the Miners were trying to close out the game.

UTEP went down the stretch with freshman Aaliyah Stanton running the point and she finished with 13 points and just one turnover in the best game of her brief UTEP career.

Through the first 35 minutes Adhel Tac carried the post play, scoring a career-high 19 points after some offensive struggles in Florida.

"I think being aggressive from the jump," Tac said. "Those two games in Florida weren't good. We want to get back in the win column and we did whatever we needed to for that - getting a rebound, making one more pass for a teammate, hustling."

Up next

The Miners are back at home Thursday for the designated 915 game against Colorado State. The 7 p.m. tip will be streamed on ESPN+. Tickets are $8 and $12.

Bret Bloomquist can be reached at bbloomquist@elpasotimes.com; @Bretbloomquist on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: UTEP women rally past North Alabama behind Erin Wilson's career night