UTSA rallies for 64-60 victory against San Jose State on Thursday night
SAN ANTONIO — UTSA erased a double-digit deficit with a 17-2 run late in the second half and the Roadrunners held off San Jose State, 64-60, on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
Ashley Spaletta hit six 3-pointers and scored a dozen of her team-leading 18 points in the second half to help UTSA improve to 15-13 overall (9-8 WAC). Meanwhile, Simone Young scored all 17 of her points in the final 20 minutes, while Niaga Mitchell-Cole added 10.
The Roadrunners got 48 points from their bench and used 17 offensive rebounds to score 14 second-chance points.
Meanwhile, Ta’Rea Cunnigan hit 13 free throws en route to a game-high 23 points for the Spartans (11-17, 8-9 WAC), while Chereese Thomas scored 10.
San Jose State held a slight 40-39 rebounding edge and outscored UTSA in the paint, 34-16. The Spartans also shot 38 percent for the game and connected on 21 of their 26 free throw attempts (80.8 percent).
Trailing 54-44 with 5:41 to play, UTSA went on its game-deciding run, which was fueled by hot shooting behind the arc.
Young started the stretch with a 3-pointer before Spaletta drained back-to-back treys to pull the Roadrunners to within one at 54-53. Following a steal by Miki Turner, the Houston native dished to Young, who scored inside to give the Roadrunners their first lead since the 14:49 mark of the first half.
Cunnigan slowed the run with a pair of freebies, but Young connected on a layup and Kamra King added two free throws of her own, which was followed by a Cooper jumper and UTSA held a 61-56 lead with 1:23 to play.
Two Cunnigan free throws and a bucket from Classye James cut the lead to one (61-60) with 22 ticks left, but Young knocked down a pair at the charity stripe to regain the three-point lead.
The Spartans had chance to tie, but Riana Byrd drove to the basket and missed a layup and San Jose State was forced to foul.
Whitney York made one of her two attempts at the free-throw line and the Spartans missed a shot at the buzzer for the final margin.
Mannasha Bell scored back-to-back layups out of halftime to cut the UTSA deficit to 28-26 before the Spartans rattled off nine consecutive points in a two-minute stretch.
The San Jose State lead did not dip below four points from there and Byrd’s three-point play gave the Spartans their final double-digit lead before the Roadrunners' big run.
After a back-and-forth start to the contest, San Jose State scored 11 consecutive points while UTSA struggled from the field against the Spartans zone defense.
San Jose State quickly erased a 10-6 deficit with baskets by Cunnigan and Thomas. Thomas scored two more times and her basket with 8:57 to play in the half gave the visitors a 17-10 lead.
During the stretch, the Roadrunners missed 11 consecutive field-goal attempts and committed three turnovers.
King broke the drought with a steal and layup and two Mitchell-Cole free throws pulled the Roadrunners to within three at 17-14.
San Jose State worked the lead back up to seven before back-to-back Spaletta threes, her first two of the night, made it 21-20. Three more Cunnigan free throws and a bucket by Emily Schill pushed the lead back to six, but York closed the half with a running jumper in the lane for a 26-22 halftime deficit.
The Roadrunners will close out the regular-season at 6 p.m. on Saturday when they host Utah State (17-11, 14-3 WAC).