Daryl Smith/ The Paisano
On Friday, Nov. 29 the UTSA women’s basketball team scored a victory over the visiting Northern Iowa Panthers in the opening game of the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic.
The Roadrunners were able to grind out a 63-55 win, scoring the final nine points at the free throw line to clinch the victory. Sophomore forward Mannasha Bell led the team with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“We came in knowing they were a good 3-point shooting team, and we wanted to take that away from them,” said UTSA Head Coach Lubomyr Lichonczak. “I think we did that well in the first half, but were too relaxed in the second half, our cushion we had though is why I think we came out with the win.”
The Roadrunners scored 28 points in the paint and out-rebounded the Panthers, showing an aggressive nature near the basket.
“I am more proud of my 13 rebounds,” Bell said after the game. “That’s what I’ve been doing since I could remember; getting boards and helping my team out.”
It wasn’t just the play inside that was effective, as UTSA continued to run their full court 1-2-2 high-pressure defense they have utilized this season, making it uncomfortable for teams to handle the basketball.
The Roadrunners collected a total of eight steals and 11 points off of turnovers.
About half way through the second half, UTSA was ahead 45-30, when the aggression led to a flurry of foul calls. The Panthers would go on a 12-4 run to cut the lead down to seven points with four minutes left in the game.
But UTSA stood strong and got to the free throw line late to halt the Panthers’ run.
“These are the games you love to coach,” Lichonzczak said.
The Roadrunners ended the weekend with an 72-63 overtime win over Norfolk State. UTSA senior guard Kamra King scored five of her team-high 23 points in the extra period and fellow guard Miki Turner added 16 points and three assists.
“I feel like when we come out with a lot of energy, while talking and communicating, we’re a really good team, and things turn out good for us,” Bell said.
UTSA (4-4) will head to Corpus Christi to face the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Thursday, Dec. 5. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.