Roadrunners end regular season with 80-72 victory against Utah State
SAN ANTONIO — Kamra King scored 16 of her 22 points in the second half, Simone Young added 21 in her final home game and UTSA rallied for an 80-72 victory against Utah State on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.
The Roadrunners (16-13, 10-8 WAC) secured the No. 4 seed in next week’s Western Athletic Conference Tournament. UTSA will face fifth-seeded Louisiana Tech (13-16, 9-9 WAC) at 10:30 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, March 13, at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Birds and Lady Techsters split the season series with each team winning on the other's home court. UTSA was victorious in Ruston, 51-50, on Jan. 12 and Louisiana Tech came out on top, 79-73, on Feb. 7 in the Alamo City behind a WAC-record 45 points from Kelia Shelton.
King hit six of her 10 shots from the floor, including a 3-of-4 from behind the arc, and she added a 7-of-7 performance at the free-throw line. The Norman, Okla., native also recorded two rebounds, a pair of assists and a block to help the UTSA bench score 52 points.
Meanwhile, Young went 8-of-12 from the floor, dished out five assists and grabbed four rebounds.
The Roadrunners shot 43.5 percent for the game, including 57.1 percent in the second half, and held a 46-37 rebounding edge. Their 80 points were the most since an 88-29 win against Concordia Texas back on Nov. 12.
Jenna Johnson scored a game-high 23 points for the Aggies (17-12, 14-4), who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. Jennifer Schlott added 20, while Devyn Christensen finished with a dozen.
Utah State, which led 33-32 at the half, opened the second period with a 12-2 run to take its largest advantage of of the game (45-34) with 17:18 to play.
King ended the stretch with the first of her three 3-pointers and Young scored inside to pull UTSA to within six at 45-39.
However, each time the Roadrunners came close, the Aggies answered with a basket or free throws to maintain their edge.
Schlott hit a jumper with nine minutes to go for a seven-point cushion, but Spaletta answered the basket with a 3-pointer and a layup to make it 60-58. However, Christensen’s basket regained a two-possession lead.
King connected again from behind the arc before Schlott and Christensen pushed the Utah State lead back to six (67-61) on a jumper and three-point play.
However, it proved to be the final bucket of the night for the Aggies and the Roadrunners responded with an 11-2 run to take the lead for good.
Spaletta found Niaga Mitchell-Cole open inside the Aggies zone defense for a layup to start the game-deciding stretch and King’s three-point play followed by a Young jumper gave the home squad a 68-67 advantage.
After a pair of Schiott freebies gave the edge back to Utah State, Whitney Wright, who also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, hit a jumper with 3:42 to play and King converted a Mitchell-Cole steal into a basket to cap the run and give UTSA a 72-69 lead.
Two Johnson free throws pulled the Aggies to within a point, but jumpers by Miki Turner and Young provided the Roadrunners a two-score advantage, 76-72, with 1:12 remaining on the clock. The Birds went on to hit four free throws in the final 27 seconds to clinch the eight-point triumph.
Utah State scored the game’s first five points before jumpers by Young and York pulled UTSA to within a point.
Holding a 6-5 advantage, the Aggies scored the next nine points for its largest lead of the half, 15-5. Two Schiott free throws started the run, while Franny Vaaulu’s jumper capped the spurt.
However, UTSA's defense locked down and held Utah State scoreless for the next 5:14 and, during that time, the Roadrunners rattled off a 13-0 run for their first lead of the contest.
Young opened the scoring with a jumper that was followed by a pair of King freebies. Another free throw by Turner made it 15-10 before back-to-back 3-pointers from Spaletta and Lyndi Thorman gave the Birds their first advantage of the game.
Turner capped the stretch with a jumper and 18-15 lead following a steal by Thorman.