Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Elyssa Coleman: From Longhorn to Roadrunner


Elyssa Coleman is a redshirt junior for the women’s basketball team here at UTSA. Currently majoring in sociology, she graduated from Atascocita High School in 2020 with high enough marks to earn admission to the University of Texas at Austin. Of course, earning a slot on their team through the recruitment process was no walk in the park, even for someone ranked as the No. 12 starter in the class of 2020 by ESPN.

“I don’t think anybody is prepared for the recruitment process just because it’s a game in and of itself. For some higher places, it can be a facade or coaches could be constantly moving around. I don’t think people really prepare you for that, but you also have to know your higher-ups, or people who have been through the process before. I had a lot of people who had been through that process with my AAU team and my organizations. They helped me a ton with getting through all of that.”

Though her hard work paid off in helping her become a Longhorn, misfortune struck Elyssa when she tore her ACL — a ligament in the knee — during the second week of games in her freshman season. Even though it was heartbreaking for her to have her season torn away in the blink of an eye, she managed to utilize healthy coping support systems to help bring her back in the game.

I really locked into my faith and started talking to my family more, and getting a therapist really helped a lot because it happened at the height of [the] COVID-19 [pandemic] so there was really just a lot going on at once. It really helped me lock down on the reasons I do the things I do, too, and my recovery and rehabilitation teams helped a ton in getting me back on the court.”

The 2021 season brought changes in school and coaching environments for Elyssa. Along with her recovery from injury, she made the decision to transfer from one UT school to another, joining us here in the Alamo City in a move that may have left some at a loss for words.

“So I committed to coach Karen [Aston] out of high school, and then over that summer [UT] said they wouldn’t be extending her contract; so she went into retirement during the year I was at UT with the coach [Vic Schaefer] that’s there now. I knew I wasn’t going to stay, so once I got in the transfer portal I automatically committed here because I wanted to come back to people I knew. Coach Karen was here, coach Jamie [Carey] was here; those two had already been on the staff at UT. I also felt like I clicked with the other two coaches they added here, Coach [Empress] Davenport and Coach Cam [Miles]. It was a pretty easy decision to come here for me.”

She may have had everything she felt she needed to come back swinging during her redshirt freshman year here, but that did not go as she would have liked, with the women’s team ending the season at seven wins and twenty-three losses.

It was really rocky. Recruiting for that team was pretty last minute, but we got our stuff together towards the end of it. We got a conference tournament win for the first time in I believe it was ten years, so that was pretty cool. Watching the team grow over time has also been pretty cool to watch.”

The team has been improving since then, with conditioning and teamwork being top priorities for them Elyssa is confident they will bring the American Athletic Conference Championship to the home of the Roadrunners this season.

“We’ve been honing in on things we didn’t do great in last year. The biggest focus has been getting stronger and getting faster in the weight room and developing our team chemistry. Every day is hard, but it feels a lot easier when we make transitions from training to the court; court work is a lot easier because we’re pushing ourselves so hard. It makes actually playing basketball a lot easier, and so far, our chemistry and teamwork is much better this year than it was last year.”

“If you win the conference tournament then you punch your ticket to go to the NCAA tournament, and that’s always the goal. We were two games short of winning the conference championship last year, so I know we’ll be punching that ticket this year.”

Supporting the team is not Elyssa’s only objective for the season; she is a captain this year, and she plans to improve her personal records in a manner befitting the role.

I was so sure of averaging a double-double last year, so that’s the goal for me during the season. Stepping up to the captain role and being more of a leader for my team is my main objective besides that.”

Their first exhibition match is Wednesday, Nov. 1, so be sure to watch and cheer Elyssa and the rest of the women’s team on as they endeavor to meet their goals for the season and make the Roadrunner Nation proud.

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