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

Late surge by ECU ends UTSA’s AAC championship hopes

East Carolina edges out UTSA in heartbreaking semifinal
Jonathan Porter

Amidst the high stakes of the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal, No. 4 UTSA faced a heartbreaking 55-54 loss against No. 9 East Carolina. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions as the Roadrunners, despite leading by nine points entering the fourth quarter, allowed a 14-4 run from the Pirates to close out the game.

Entering the fourth quarter, UTSA aimed to seal their place in the conference title game. Despite efforts from senior and junior forwards Jordyn Jenkins and Elyssa Coleman, who scored seven and four points, respectively, East Carolina began to mount a comeback. With 4:30 remaining, the Pirates, driven by freshman guard Karina Gordon, sophomore forward Amiya Joyner and senior guard Danae McNeal, erased a nine-point deficit. McNeal, in particular, shined in the clutch with nine points in the quarter. 

“It’s hard, we had plans to play tomorrow,” Jenkins said of the loss. “We were all playing for our seniors and it’s a tough outcome, one of those things that you can’t get back. I know it’s going to stick with me for a little bit.”

An 8-0 run from the Pirates cut the lead to 50-49. The turning point came when East Carolina capitalized on a critical five-second violation by UTSA, with McNeal scoring a decisive jumper with 39 seconds remaining..

“I had a timeout when we got the five-second call,” UTSA head coach Karen Aston said, reflecting on the critical turnover. “I called it half a second too late, unfortunately.”

The final moments were tense as a turnover by Roadrunners guard Kyra White and key free throws by the Pirates allowed East Carolina to maintain their slender advantage, ending UTSA’s conference championship hopes.

“[ECU] got more determined to score in the paint in the second half,” Aston said. “I also thought we gave up some real critical rebounds at times where we could’ve lengthened the lead a little bit.”

The game opened with UTSA’s strong defense limiting the Pirates to 23.5% shooting despite turnovers affecting both teams. White starred in the second quarter hitting two 3’s and dishing out three assists. Sophomore forward Cheyenne Rowe added six points, while freshman guard Aysia Proctor crashed the boards. East Carolina’s McNeal and Joyner struggled, shooting a combined 1 of 14 from the field.

In the third quarter, White’s performance continued with another 3-pointer and two assists. ‘Runners sophomore guard Sidney Love and Jenkins added six and five points, respectively, helping UTSA maintain their lead. Despite these efforts, Joyner stood out for the Pirates, finding her rhythm and contributing 11 points and six rebounds in the third. A clutch 3-pointer from Love extended the Roadrunner’s lead to nine points, before the Pirates’ turnaround in the final quarter.

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About the Contributors
Aramis Santiago
Aramis Santiago, Staff Writer

Hey, I'm Aramis (he/him). I am a 22 year old, freshman, communication major here at UTSA. He has a  passion for sports, specifically football and basketball, and to a lesser degree, baseball and UFC as well. My goal is to have a job lined up after graduating for journalism where I can talk and write about sports for a living. I also love food and listening to music. I enjoy eating from any place and mainly listen to reggaeton, R&B, and hip-hop. My hobbies whenever I am not working or going to school are watching sports, working out, hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing video games, and I've recently started reading as well. I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 2000, moved to Baltimore, Maryland with my parents in 2006, and moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2010 where I’ve stayed ever since. I’m also a diehard fan of the Baltimore Ravens, haven’t missed a game since 2014 and will continue watching them for as long as I can breathe.

Jonathan Porter
Jonathan Porter, Photographer
Jonathan Porter is a sophomore digital communication major at UTSA. After graduation, he plans on becoming a sports marketer. This is his second semester with The Paisano as part of the photo staff as he aims to improve on his craft and make new connections. He has been doing photography since his senior year in high school and since then, he has dabbled in portrait, landscape, event and sport photography. With The Paisano, he has taken pictures of numerous sports, events and campus life. In his spare time, he likes to workout, meet new people and work on his photography. While not his major, he enjoys getting to gain more experience with photography and even has plans on creating his own business in the future.

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