DENVER, Colo. — Denver opened the game on a 10-0 run and never trailed in a 53-49 victory against UTSA on Thursday night at Magness Arena. The loss snapped the Roadrunners’ four-game road winning streak.
Senior Simone Young led the Roadrunners (11-10, 5-5 WAC) with 13 points.
Meanwhile, Emiko Smith led all scorers with 15 and she was joined in double figures by Kailey Edwards, who finished with 11 points.
Denver (10-11, 5-5 WAC) shot 43.2 percent in the contest, including 45 percent in the second half, to hold on for the win despite committing 23 turnovers.
Smith started the opening run with a pair of free throws and the Roadrunners were shut out until senior Cori Cooper’s free throw with 13:47 to go in the first half. UTSA’s first basket, a layup from sophomore Kamra King, came on its next possession.
An old-fashioned 3-point play cut the deficit to 10-6, but the Pioneers quickly answered with two baskets and the home team did not lead by less than six the rest of the half.
Smith’s layup with 4:22 to go in the frame gave Denver a double-digit advantage, 22-12, and its biggest lead, 11, came on an Edwards layup at the 1:16 mark.
Trailing 25-16 at the break, UTSA scored seven of the first nine points to start the second half to once again cut the deficit to four (27-23). The Pioneers connected on back-to-back baskets to double the margin and they led by seven with 11:13 to play before six consecutive points pulled the Birds to within one at 35-34.
From there, the Denver lead never exceeded five points, but UTSA could not tie or grab a lead.
The Roadrunners held the Pioneers without a field goal over the final 2:30 only to see Denver hit six free throws down the stretch to clinch the four-point triumph.
A layup by sophomore Ashley Spaletta with eight seconds left made it 51-49, but the Birds could not steal the inbounds pass and they were forced to foul Jordan Johnston, who put the game away with a pair of freebies.
UTSA will return to the court on Saturday at New Mexico State (9-11, 3-7 WAC). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (CT) and the game can be seen on ESPN3 as well as Comcast Sports Net Houston.