NORFOLK, Va. --Jennie Simms scored 30 points to lead three Lady Monarchs in double figures and the Old Dominion women's basketball team defeated UTEP, 87-68, on the first-ever Pride Night on Thursday evening at the Ted Constant Center.
"I really enjoy watching this team when they are out there smiling and they are playing for each other," said head coach Karen Barefoot. "I think that we made some big plays and when we truly commit to defense, we are pretty incredible. We can really disrupt the flow of anybody."
Old Dominion (16-12, 11-6 C-USA) has now won eight of their last 10 games, after shooting a season-best 61 percent from the field and holding UTEP (8-21, 5-12 C-USA) to 39 percent shooting.
Simms' 30 points and seven assists led the Lady Monarch offense, while Destinee Young added her Conference USA-leading 15th double-double of the season with 14 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks. Ashley Jackson was the third player in double figures with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Lady Monarchs jumped out to an early lead and used a late first-quarter rally to lead 23-12 at the end of the one. ODU extended its lead to 14 at 34-20 midway through the second quarter, but the Miners responded by closing the half on a 12-5 run to cut the lead to 39-32 at the half.
ODU shot 52 percent in the opening half, while holding UTEP to 38 percent shooting. The Lady Monarchs also outrebounded UTEP, 23-18, and held a 20-14 advantage in the paint.
In the second half, ODU used an 8-0 rally early in the third quarter to ignite a 24-point quarter for the Lady Monarchs. ODU extended its lead to 17 at 61-44 with less than three to play in the third and carried a 63-48 lead into the fourth. ODU would never relinquish the double-digit advantage and would cruise to the 19-point victory.
"They live for this. It's March," said Barefoot. "You always talk about how it's a long season, but you always try to prepare them for March and I feel like we're ready."
ODU remains in a tie with Charlotte (19-9, 11-6 C-USA), who defeated UTSA tonight, for fifth in the C-USA standings. The Lady Monarchs can move up to fourth in the standings and clinch a first-round bye in the conference tournament with a win over UTSA on Saturday and a Southern Miss victory over LA Tech tomorrow.