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UAB falls in opening round of WNIT to end season at 18-13
The UAB Women’s basketball team had a rough end to a great season as they fell to UTEP during the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament 61-59, as well as falling to Auburn in the first round of the WNIT at Auburn Arena.
The Blazers traveled to El Paso earlier in the season and managed to upset UTEP 61-57, who at the time was on a nine game winning streak. The Blazers were the first team to beat UTEP at home, shattering their 10-0 home court record. This time out the Miners had a score to settle and the game nearly mirrored the January 20th dog fight but only this time UTEP came out on top.
UAB’s Karisma Chapman was electrifying, scoring 23 of her teams 59 points and grabbing eight boards during the contest but her game wasn’t enough to stop the Miners defensive effort. While the two teams were almost dead even in shooting percentages, the Miners were able to outrebound the Blazers as well as capitalizing on their 3-point shooting.
UAB and UTEP seemed evenly matched as the game wore on. After having been tied most of the first half the Blazers managed to pull ahead 31-25 before heading into the locker room. After the break the Blazers took charge of the second half quickly, but the Miners managed to put together a late game rally to tie. The lead would switch hands several times before one of UTEP’s reserve players hit a three pointer which would ultimately signal the end of the line for UAB.
While the loss to UTEP was difficult, the Green and Gold had high hopes for their third WNIT appearance. The Blazers traveled to the Auburn Arena to face the Tigers last Wednesday, but unfortunately for the Blazers the game was nearly one sided. Auburn came off the bench fast with forward Tyrese Tanner leading her team with 29 points, while the most points scored by any one Blazer were the 15 points put up by freshman Chelsee Black. Amber Jones and Karisma Chapman both managed to put up double digits as well netting 10 points each, but the Tigers were just too good.
Auburn shot 44.9% from the floor and managed to outrebound UAB 43-32. The Blazers shot 38.5% from the field and 84.6% from beyond the arc, but the size and speed of Tigers was much too much for the Blazers. UAB did everything they could to stay in the game, and several times the green and gold was able to pull within a few points of the Tigers who eventually went on a run that the Blazers would never catch up to.
Auburn will now advance to the second round of the WNIT where they will face Western Kentucky.
With the loss to UTEP and Auburn, UAB finishes this season with an overall record of 18-13; 9-8 (Conference USA) making this the 4th consecutive winning season for Audra Smiths Blazers.
It was a dissappointing end to the season for the Lady Blazers who were coming in to the year tabbed to finish towards the top in conference USA and had plans to sneak into the NCAA tournament.
The defense was there for the majority of the season with on the ball pressure that kept opposing teams on their heels.
The defense altered many of their opponents shots, holding their opponents to an average of 35.8% from the field which ranks 40th in the nation.
That lead to the Blazers ranking 41st in the nation allowing the opposition to just 54.9 points a game.
The Blazers will look for incoming freshman Abrea Harris to add to the offensive game as she is a four star recruit according to ESPN.
Senior Staff Writer