SAN JOSE, Calif. — UTSA used a 21-3 first-half run to build a double-digit lead and it held off a late San Jose State surge for a 57-54 victory on Monday to claim its first-ever Western Athletic Conference victory.
Senior Simone Young led the Roadrunners (7-6, 1-1 WAC) with 12 points and five rebounds, while fellow senior Cori Cooper added 11 points and five boards.
Meanwhile, Riana Byrd paced the Spartans (4-9, 1-1 WAC) with 12 points and Emily Schill had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Ta’Rea Cunnigan, who finished with a season-low nine points, scored the first seven for San Jose State and the home squad led 7-2 before UTSA went on its decisive run.
A pair of 3-pointers from Young and sophomore Jenny Menz ignited the stretch and tied the score at eight. Sophomore Kamra King then connected from behind the arc before the Roadrunners scored six consecutive baskets in the paint for a 23-10 advantage with 9:28 on the clock.
The Spartans' only points during the stretch were three free throws and Schill’s layup with 8:58 on the clock ended an eight-minute, 14-second drought from the field.
Minutes later, sophomore Ashley Spaletta hit a free throw and a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 15 (27-12).
San Jose State scored four consecutive points to pull to within 11, but the Roadrunners responded with three baskets inside for their largest lead of the half, 33-17.
UTSA notched 20 points in the paint and shot 43.8 percent during the first 20 minutes of action.
Another Young 3-pointer early in the second half helped start a 12-2 run that gave the Roadrunners their largest lead of the game, 47-26, with 14 minutes to play.
A Schill layup from was followed by nine straight points by UTSA.
Young hit another 3-ball before a King jumper and a pair of free throws and jumper from senior Lyndi Thorman, which was the Roadrunners’ lone basket of the night without an assist, capped the run.
UTSA held a 53-46 lead with just 6:46 to play, only to watch the Spartans rattle off a 14-0 run and pull to within three. The Roadrunners turned the ball over five times and missed three shots during the run, which made it 53-50 with 1:34 remaining.
However, senior Jermini Malone and King each sank a pair of free throws to help hold off San Jose State, which missed a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds to play.
The Spartans shot 50 percent and had a four-point edge at the free-throw line in the second half, but the Roadrunners got 23 bench points in their first road win of the campaign.
UTSA will return to the Alamo City for a 7 p.m. tilt on Thursday against New Mexico State (6-5, 0-1 WAC).