The UTSA women’s basketball team was dealt a 77-61 loss by Stephen F. Austin (SFA) this past Saturday on Senior Night at the Convocation Center.
The Roadrunners finished the regular season going 16-13, and 10-6 in Southland Conference (SLC) play- UTSA will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s SLC tournament.
In their victory, the Ladyjacks guaranteed themselves a share of the SLC regular season title- SFA will enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Although the Roadrunners struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 7-24 from the floor, they headed into the break down only nine, 31-22. UTSA was outrebounded 26-16 while committing 16 first half turnovers.
SFA, who shot over 36 percent in the first half, hit 55 percent of their shots in the second half. The Ladyjacks pushed their lead to 21 points in the second half, and the Roadrunners were never able to mount a serious challenge.
Sophomore Whitney York had a game-high 24 points and also added six rebounds and three assists. The Ladyjacks offense featured four players who scored in double figures: Schera Sampson (10 points), Ebony Alexander (11 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists), Antoinette Davis (12 points, nine rebounds) and Whitney Cormier (14 points, five steals).
SFA headed into Saturday’s game looking to lock up a share of the SLC regular season title. With the win, SFA handed themselves their 15th SLC title in program history.
“It is a frustrating loss because we were so flat,” Head Coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair said. “To keep them [Stephen F. Austin] from winning a conference championship… I really thought we were going to be up for that.”
The Roadrunners experienced bitter irony as last season UTSA was the team celebrating a SLC regular season title in the final game of the season; UTSA defeated SFA 65-51 on March 7, 2009 in route to the program’s second regular season title in school history.
“Last year we cut down their nets and we were determined to not let them cut down ours,” senior forward Valencia Cottom said. Cottom, is the only active senior as Guard Alysse Davis is out for the season with injury. Cottom is determined to finish her college career on a positive note at the SLC tournament- especially when play starts against rival UT Arlington.
“We got to take it to them,” Cottom said. “I know they’re coming to beat us… a lot of teams want to beat us.”
And rightfully so, as the Roadrunners have reigned supreme the last two years at the SLC tournament. But it is the revisiting of UTA that has the attention of the Roadrunners and Rippetoe-Blair.
“Probably our biggest rivalry,” Rippetoe-Blair said. “One year we played and beat them in a triple overtime game to keep on moving to the championship game. Last year we beat them in the championship game. I think there’s so much parity in the conference that anybody can win.”
The Southland league office announced that York and freshman Judy Jones earned second-team All-Southland Conference honors while junior Ashleigh Franklin earned third-team honors.
The Roadrunners open play in the SLC tournament from the Merrell Center 8:30 p.m. Live audio for all postseason games will be streamed through goUTSA.com.