UTSA topples Tulane for Conference USA Tournament Championship
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — UTSA clinched the third NCAA Tournament berth in program history on Sunday by claiming the Conference USA Tournament Championship in four sets against Tulane (25-20, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23).
C-USA Player of the Year McKenzie Adams lived up to her billing with a match-high 29 kills and a .344 attack percentage to go along with 11 digs. Dajana Boskovic added 16 winners and Kylie Schott hit .714 on 11 kills to join Adams in double digits. Jessica Waldrip distributed 51 assists in leading the Roadrunners (24-7) to a .301 attack percentage and Annie Kunes delivered a match-high 13 digs.
Tea Juric led Tulane (28-4) with 20 kills on 34 attempts for an attack percentage of .412 and Cori Martone concluded her career with 14 winners.
UTSA set the pace in the opening set by building a 16-12 that culminated with Schott’s winner from the middle. Back-to-back kills from Juric and Martone narrowed the lead to one before Schott notched another kill and Adams tallied another three winners, as the Roadrunners captured the opening stanza with an 8-6 closing run. Adams tallied a set-high eight kills and Boskovic added six, while Waldrip passed out 16 assists.
Momentum continued to build in UTSA's favor in the second set, as it broke open a 10-all tie with a 15-6 run to take a commanding 2-0 edge ito intermission. Adams and Schott combined for nine winners during the closing burst, as the Birds managed to register a .394 hitting percentage. Adams finished the frame with another seven kills and Kunes tallied five digs.
Tulane grabbed control following the 10-minute break with a 6-0 run with the score tied at seven to take a 13-7 lead. UTSA got as close as two, but the Green Wave managed to extend its lead and draw the match to 2-1 in favor of the Roadrunners. Juric led Tulane with six kills on nine attempts.
Trailing 18-15 in the fourth set, UTSA leaned on its All-America candidate and Adams delivered with three kills over the next four points to cut the Tulane lead to one at 20-19. The Roadrunners then forced three Green Wave attack errors to take a 22-21 advantage. After an Annie Schurtz kill tied things up at 22, Boskovic delivered a big kill to again grab the one point edge. An attack error and a kill by Juric led to match point for the Roadrunners and, when Grace Weaver’s serve sailed just over the endline for a service error, the Roadrunners bench flooded onto the court in celebration of the school’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2010.
Adams was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and she was joined on the all-tournament team by Boskovic and Kunes.
UTSA will learn its NCAA Tournament placement on Sunday, Dec. 1, during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.