UTSA downs Northern Iowa in Thanksgiving Classic opener, 63-55
SAN ANTONIO — Mannasha Bell had a team-high 13 points and 13 rebounds, as UTSA secured a 63-55 victory against Northern Iowa on Friday's opening day of the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic.
Three other Roadrunners joined Bell in double figures with Kamra King and Miki Turner notching 11 points and Ashley Spaletta adding 10.
Madison Weekly had a game-high 18 points for the Panthers (2-4) after going 10-for-12 from the free throw line and Brooke Brown added 12 for UNI, which finished the game 1-for-18 (5.6 percent) from the 3-point line.
UTSA (3-4) used a 20-5 scoring run over the final 6:49 of the first half to take a 37-20 lead into the halftime break. Akunna Elonu and Spaletta led the way with eight points each with Elonu connecting on all eight of her free throw attempts to secure her halftime total.
The Roadrunners defense was a key factor in the opening 20-minutes registering a 27-16 rebounding advantage and holding the Panthers to a mere 17-percent (4-for-23) from the field. Mannasha Bell tallied five rebounds and King added two steals to help build the 17-point halftime margin.
Weekly registered a team-high eight points for Northern Iowa in the half knocking down 6-of-8 free throws.
In the second half, Weekly trimmed the Roadrunners lead to single digits, 49-40, with a pair of free throws at the 6:00 mark as part of an 8-2 run that closed the Panthers to within seven a minute later on another Weekly layup.
However, the Panthers would get no closer as UTSA connected on nine free throws over the final 2:02 to earn the victory.UTSA will wrap up tournament play against Norfolk State (2-3) at 8 p.m. on Saturday.