Denver holds off UTSA on Saturday evening, 75-73
SAN ANTONIO — Sophomore Kamra King tied a season-high with 18 points, but Denver halted a late charge by UTSA and held on for 75-73 victory in Western Athletic Conference action on Saturday at the Convocation Center.
King, who went 6-of-13 from the floor in addition to draining all five of her free-throw attempts, was joined in double figures by junior Miki Turner (career-high 12/all in the second half) and senior Lyndi Thorman 12).
The Roadrunners (7-8, 1-3 WAC) shot 53.3 percent after intermission and 42.9 percent overall. UTSA also scored 44 points in the paint and got 37 points from its bench.
Meanwhile, the Pioneers (8-7, 3-1 WAC) were led by Morgan Van Riper-Rose’s game-high 22 points. Jordan Johnston (14), Alison Janecek (12 and 11 rebounds) and Emiko Smith (11) also scored in double figures.
Denver connected at a 56 percent clip in the final stanza and 47.2 percent for the game.
The Pioneers turned a two-point halftime lead into a 44-33 advantage with an 11-2 run to start the second half and a Smith jumper with 12 minutes to play gave Denver its largest lead of the game at 51-37.
However, the Roadrunners slowly began to chip away at the deficit, starting with seven consecutive points to slice the margin in half.
Sophomore Ashley Spaletta got things going for UTSA with a 3-pointer and free throw before freshman Niaga Mitchell-Cole’s three-point play made it 51-44 with nine minutes to go.
Denver held a 61-53 advantage with 5:13 remaining before three UTSA free throws and a jumper in the paint from freshman Mannasha Bell pulled the Roadrunners to within three.
Once again, the Pioneers responded.
They led by as much as eight with 49 seconds left and were able to maintain their advantage with seven makes at the free-throw line down the stretch.
Turner scored eight of her 12 points in the final minute and Thorman’s 3-pointer with two seconds left provided the final margin.
The opening minutes saw four ties before a Van Riper-Rose 3-pointer and Theresa Wirth basket gave the Pioneers a 13-8 lead. Denver maintained its lead and had a five-point cushion before UTSA scored eight consecutive points for its first advantage of the night.
Thorman started the scoring run with a 3-pointer from the left wing that was followed by another triple from King for a 23-22 lead. Thorman then provided a stop with a blocked shot and scored inside to push the advantage to 25-22 with 5:52 to go in the half.
However, the Pioneers fought back with 3-pointers from Johnston and Van Riper-Rose to reclaim the lead. A jumper from Wirth gave the visitors another five-point cushion before the Roadrunners scored six straight for a 31-30 lead with a minute remaining in the stanza.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Alison Janecek gave Denver a 33-31 halftime lead and it did not trail the rest of the way.
UTSA will be back in action on Thursday, Jan. 10, when it hits the road for a 7 p.m. matchup at UT Arlington (3-10, 1-2 WAC).