UTEP (13-1, 1-0 in C-USA) was led by Kayla Thornton and Anete Steinberga, who scored 23 and 18 points respectively
Taleya Mayberry led TU with 21 points. Tiffani Couisnard and Kadan Brady also scored in double figures, each getting 14.
Tulsa had plenty of scoring opportunities, but could not capitalize when it needed to.
TU hit on 38 percent (21-of-56) of its shots, 36 percent (5-of-14) in 3-pointers and sank 81 percent (17-of-21) in free throws.
The Miners finished with 43 percent (26-of-61) shooting, made 30 percent (6-of-20) in 3s and connected on 57 percent (13-of-23) from the foul line. They outrebounded the Golden Hurricane 44-33 and had a 7-6 edge in steals.
Throughout most of the first half and the first two minutes of the second, Tulsa stayed within three to five points and even had a lead.
A lay-up by Couisnard followed by a free throw to complete a 3-point play gave Tulsa its first lead at 24-23 with 6:08 left in the first half. Mayberry added a free throw to up the Hurricane’s lead to two points.
But UTEP would get back in front. A basket from Saidah Zuberi Allen broke a 27-27 with 1:23 to go before halftime. Thornton drilled a trey at the halftime buzzer to make it 32-27.
She would make a few more plays that would mark the turning point. She stole a TU pass in the UTEP backcourt, then drove inside the paint for the lay-up and added a 3 less than half a minute later.
“There were two (plays) that stood out to me, where they got open layups in transition” Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman said. “One was off of Thornton. They threw it out of bounds and we weren’t matched up defensively in our press and she got that wide open lay-up, and there was another one where they had a steal and they got a wide-open layup. That’s four points where we don’t have anyone in the neighborhood when they go score.”
The Miners eventually broke away. As they gradually built onto the lead, they would score on second-chance shots.
The Golden Hurricane would not give up. They drew to within 54-50 on a jumper by Brady with 9:20 left.
But the Miners went on an 8-0 run, capped by free throws from Steinberga to make it 62-50 with 5:29 remaining. It would be UTEP’s largest advantage on the night.
TU plays next at Rice, with a 2 p.m. start scheduled for Sunday.