Louisiana Tech outlasts UTSA on Thursday night, 79-73
SAN ANTONIO — Kelia Shelton scored a Western Athletic Conference-record 45 points to lead Louisiana Tech to a 79-73 victory at UTSA on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
Shelton hit 16 of her 22 shots from the field, including a 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point line, and also had a 10-of-14 performance at the free-throw line to surpass the previous mark of 44 points by San Diego State's Kieishsha Garnes against Creighton on March 8, 1991. She added eight rebounds and a pair of steals in logging all 40 minutes.
The Lady Techsters (11-11, 6-5 WAC) shot 56.3 percent in the game, including a 59.3 percent clip in the first half.
Meanwhile, Miki Turner led the Roadrunners (12-11, 6-6 WAC) with a career-high 16 points, while Niaga Mitchell-Cole and Whitney York registered season bests of 15 and 14, respectively.
UTSA shot 36.2 percent in the contest and held a 42-30 edge in the paint to go along with 11 steals and the Roadrunners scored 18 points off 24 LA Tech turnovers.
UTSA opened the scoring on an offensive rebound and layup by Cori Cooper that provided the home squad with its only lead of the evening.
Lulu Perry’s 3-pointer gave Louisiana Tech its first advantage and Shelton followed with two of her 21 first-half points for a 5-2 lead. After a pair of York free throws pulled the Birds to within one, the Lady Techsters rattled off a 9-0 run and gain a double-digit advantage.
The lead never dipped below seven points in the frame and grew to as much as 14 on Savanna Langston’s 3-pointer with 2:23 to play in the half.
However, that proved to be Louisiana Tech’s last basket of the stanza and two more free throws by York followed by a basket from Jenny Menz made it 39-29 at the break.
Louisiana Tech’s advantage stayed near 10 points for much of the second half until the Roadrunners made their move midway through the period.
After another Shelton basket with 8:04 to go gave the Lady Techsters a 58-47 lead, York responded with a three-point play to help UTSA outscore Louisiana Tech 12-5 over the next two minutes.
Turner added a pair of free throws, but Shelton connected on a jumper and followed a Mitchell-Cole 3-pointer with a long-ball of her own for a 63-55 lead.
Ashley Spaletta then found Akunna Elonu cutting to the basket for a pair and Turner assisted on a Kamra King bucket to pull UTSA to within four at 63-59 with 5:58 remaining.
However, that was as close as the Roadrunners got the rest of the way, as Shelton hit five of her next six freebies and LA Tech held the Birds scoreless.
All told, the Lady Techsters connected on 15-of-16 freebies in the final four minutes to hold on for the six-point triumph.
UTSA will be back in action at 6 p.m. on Saturday against UT Arlington (4-17, 2-9 WAC).