EL PASO, Texas (Jan. 4) -- The University of Houston women's basketball team used two comebacks to hold off Texas-El Paso and claim a 68-66 win on the road Tuesday night in (Jan. 4) at the Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus.
Texas-El Paso held a six point lead late in the first half, but Houston junior guard Nakea Mitchell came off the bench to help spark a Lady Cougar comeback with 11 first-half points. UH went on a 7-0 run over the final five minutes to take a 31-30 lead at the intermission.
The Lady Cougars then used their inside scoring punch to build a game-high seven point advantage, 52-45 midway through the second half. UTEP however answered with a 21-7 run to take a seven point lead of its own, 66-59, with just over three minutes left in the contest.
After Houston called a timeout at the 3:03 mark, Mitchell drained a three-pointer and later added a free throw to cut UTEP's lead to three, 66-63. Junior forward Cathy Lida then took control after that. Lida scored five points, grabbed a key defensive rebound and made a steal, all in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the game. The native of Chambery, France, broke a 66-66 tie by making a pair of free throws with three seconds left to seal the Lady Cougars' 68-66 win.
Lida finished with 15 points and a team-high six rebounds. Mitchell tied a career-high with a team-best 19 points, including four three-point baskets and four steals as the Lady Cougars improved to 3-8 on the season.
The Lady Miners were paced by Christina Mata's 20 points and five steals. Heidi Walker and Amy Pack both had "double-doubles" in combining for 31 points and 22 rebounds. UTEP shot over 52 percent from the floor and out-rebounded Houston 36-29, but the team fell to 3-9 overall.
Houston will next be in action at home in Hofheinz Pavilion for a pair of Conference USA games this weekend. UH will face Saint Louis on Friday, January 7, at 7:00 p.m. and UNC Charlotte on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
College Basketball Linescore Houston 31 37 -- 68 UTEP 30 36 -- 66 Scoring Leaders Houston: Nakea Mitchell 19 UTEP: Christina Mata 20 Records Houston 3-8; UTEP 3-9