• January 21, 2020

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Freshmen shine for UTPB in victory over Eastern New Mexico - Odessa American: Sports

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WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Freshmen shine for UTPB in victory over Eastern New Mexico

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Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2020 8:19 pm

Down four players because of injury, the UTPB women’s basketball team had to rely on its freshman class to find a way to win. And in a hard-fought battle, the young Falcons came through.

Guard Holly Hemmeline finished with a career-high 28 points and helped spark an 13-3 run to close the game as UTPB defeated Eastern New Mexico 71-63 Saturday in Lone Star Conference play at the Falcon Dome.

Four freshmen — Hemmeline, Rory Carter (15 points), Jordan Rogers (13) and Alexus Quaadman (10) — combined for 66 of those 71 points to help the Falcons (7-8 overall, 4-5 Lone Star Conference) snap a four-game losing streak.

“It feels great to get a win like this,” UTPB head coach Rae Boothe said. “The girls have gone through a lot of adversity over the last couple of weeks. We’re young, but we saw a lot growth and they put the pieces together to beat a very good Eastern New Mexico team.”

Things did not come easy early on for the Falcons as the Greyhounds opened the game on a 7-2 run. The two points for the Falcons came from Hemmeline, who scored the first seven points of the game for UTPB. She and Carter combined for all 14 of UTPB’s first-quarter points as the Falcons closed the deficit to 15-14 after the first 10 minutes.

“We were able to find some momentum with our shots,” Hemmeline said. “It felt good to get some of those extra 3-pointers in.”

Eastern New Mexico responded in the second quarter thanks to the frontcourt combo of Jasmine Williams and Natalie DeLonge. Williams finished with a double-double, 23 points and 12 rebounds, while DeLonge had 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Greyhounds, however, struggled shooting the ball, finishing 4 of 23 from 3-point range (17.4 percent).

“We struggled, but you have to give UTPB credit though because they played really well,” Eastern New Mexico coach Josh Prock said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and Holly did a tremendous job for them. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the job done.”

The second quarter went back and forth, but the Falcons took their first lead of the game at 21-19 with 6:28 left in the half thanks to a pair of Quaadman free throws. She also finished with 13 rebounds and four blocks to record a double-double.

A seesaw battle from that point on ensued and both teams entered halftime tied at 31.

Like they did to start the game, the Greyhounds jumped out to a 9-2 run to take a 40-33 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Falcons, however, did not go away and regained some momentum late in the third quarter as Hemmeline and Carter combined to make three straight 3-pointers to turn a 46-42 deficit into a 51-46 lead. The Falcons lead 52-48 lead heading into the final quarter.

“I can’t explain that feeling,” Hemmeline said. “Especially with Rory hitting those shots and getting those assists as well was just great.”

UTPB got the lead back up to five midway through the fourth quarte,r but the Greyhounds rallied and retook the lead at 60-58 with a Williams jumper with 4:17 remaining. Rogers hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 60.

The Falcons took control of the game after that as Rogers and Hemmeline hit back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a Quaadman layup to build an 8-point lead with 1:05 remaining that the Falcons did not relinquish.

And after a trying last couple of weeks, Boothe hopes that this victory can give her team a boost.

“This is a special group,” said Boothe of the freshmen. “They have a very unique sisterhood and they are very, very close. To see them enjoying each other’s success is really awesome to see.

“We never want to go a week and lose two games. We’re treating every week like a championship week and they just knew we had to find a way to win this one.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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