Flipping the script: UTSA women ride a fourth-quarter rally to a 71-68 victory over UAB

Jordan Jenkins hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 9 seconds left. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins played only 18 minutes because of foul trouble but hit the game-winning shot — a 3-pointer — with nine seconds left. With the victory, UTSA snapped a three-game losing streak. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA coach Karen Aston and her staff improved the program in so many areas since the end of last season. They brought in eight newcomers, including five freshmen, to bolster the roster. The returning players all made strides to better themselves.

At the same time, the Roadrunners took their lumps early in Aston’s second year as coach.

Sidney Love. UTSA beat Idaho 76-69 in women's basketball on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman Sidney Love scored a season and career-high 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. – File photo by Joe Alexander

They played through November and most of December and, because of late-in-the-game mistakes or bad breaks or, whatever, they couldn’t seem to turn the corner toward respectability — until Saturday.

Trailing by 10 points in the second half and by seven after three quarters, UTSA caught a spark and raced to a 71-68 victory over the UAB Blazers at the Convocation Center.

Junior forward Jordyn Jenkins hit the winner on a three-pointer at the top of the circle with nine seconds left, and freshman guard Sidney Love blocked a shot at the buzzer, as the Roadrunners prevailed to split two games on their first weekend of C-USA competition.

“I’m really happy for the girls,” Aston said. “It’s a growth process. But at the same time, you do need to be rewarded a little bit. Hopefully this gives us some confidence to know that (we) can win close games.

“In reality, all of our conference teams look like this. I think there’s a lot of parity in our league based on what you’re looking at and some of the teams I’ve seen.

“It’s going to be a possession game from this point forward, and I think we’re getting closer to understanding what every possession means.”

Siena Guttadauro. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

California native Siena Guttadauro also sparked the fourth-quarter rally with nine points, an assist and a steal. In one sequence, she hit back-to-back triples. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Calling it a game for the UTSA guards, Aston couldn’t have been happier with the way her freshman backcourt players performed in the fourth quarter. Love scored 11 points and Siena Guttadauro contributed nine in the last 10 minutes.

Finer details of the fourth quarter rally? Love and Guttadauro combined for seven field goals, including six threes, and they each made three apiece from long distance.

In addition, Kyra White executed a solid play on the game-winning three by Jenkins, driving on the right side and then hooking a pass out to Jenkins on the perimeter. UAB freshman Denim DeShields, sucked into the middle on the drive, ran out to the perimeter to contest Jenkins’ jumper with a hande up, but it was too late.

“I thought the game was about our guards today,” Aston said. “…They were aggressive. They were in attack mode. So I think that possession in particular was from the fact that they were aggressive the whole game, so everybody kind of drew to Kyra, which created Jordan being pretty much wide open.”

Jenkins, the C-USA’s leading scorer, said it felt “pretty good” to drain the three.

“There’s been a couple of games when it’s been close and I’d been taking shots that hadn’t fallen,” she said. “So, it was like tough on my mental … The last shot, (it) felt good. It gives me some confidence. Yeah. It’s cool. I love when my teammates celebrate.”

Karen Aston. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Trailing by seven points going into the fourth quarter, Coach Karen Aston’s UTSA Roadrunners rallied to win, improving to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in Conference USA. – Photo by Joe Alexander

After Jenkins connected, the Blazers called time out to set up a play on the other end. But as the ball was inbounded and found its way to UAB forward Lyndsey Robson on the 3-point line, her shot was blocked by Love, and it bounded away as time expired.

All of that was a welcome change of fortune for the Roadrunners, who cheered wildly from the bench when the final horn sounded. At that point, too, the box score did not lie. There was Love, a first-year collegian out of San Antonio-area Steele High School, with a team-high 23 points.

“It always feels good when I can do anything to benefit the team,” Love said. “I guess this game, it just happened to be me and Siena, who sort of stepped up for the team.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Guttadauro, who had not played in the team’s last three games. The native Californian hadn’t played since the Idaho game on Dec. 10, and yet she came in and sparked the team, including back-to-back threes at one point.

“No, it didn’t surprise me,” Love said. “I’m confident in Siena. She’s a pure shooter. She can shoot the ball with her eyes closed.”


UTSA 3-8, 1-1
UAB 8-4, 0-3

Coming up

UTSA at Middle Tennessee State, Jan. 5
UTSA at Western Kentucky, Jan. 7


UAB — Guard Denim DeShields had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Off the bench, Forward Destinee McGhee scored 11 and forward Tracey Bershers had 10. Margaret Whitley, the team’s leading scorer, was held zero for eight shooting and four points.

UTSA — Guard Sidney Love, a season-high 23 points. Also seven rebounds. Jenkins, averaging a C-USA best 20.6 coming in, had 13 points in 18 minutes limited by foul trouble. Guttadauro, nine points on three of five triples, all in the fourth quarter. Guard Kyra White, four points, 10 rebounds, nine assists.


The Roadrunners shuffled their starting lineup, going with Madison Cockrell, Hailey Atwood, Queen Ulabo, White and Jenkins. Love and Elyssa Coleman (seven points, seven rebounds) were the first players to sub into the game for UTSA.

Madison Cockrell. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Madison Cockrell started in the backcourt and produced six points, two assists and two rebounds. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA outrebounded UAB, 53-35, including 21-8 on the offensive glass. The Roadrunners also made a season-high 11 three-point shots. They held the best three-point percentage team in the C-USA to eight of 29 from distance.

Delino DeShields Sr. is the father of UAB’s freshman point guard. Her brother, Delino Jr., has played seven years in MLB, including last season with the Cincinnati Reds. Sister Diamond DeShields is with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

First half

The Roadrunners controlled the boards, winning the battle on the offensive glass decisively, as they battled the UAB Blazers to a 29-29 deadlock at halftime.

The game played at the UTSA Convocation Center featured a battle of freshmen point guards. Denim DeShields had 13 at the half for the Blazers, while Madison Cockrell had six points and two assists for the Roadrunners.

JB’s video replay

Drilling the game winner

Firing up the three ball

Making the simple play

Scooping the competition

Driving the lane to score

New Year’s Eve matinee: UTSA women hope to end 2022 on a high note against UAB

Sidney Love. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sidney Love and the UTSA Roadrunners host the UAB Blazers today at the Convocation Center. Love is a freshman from Steele High School. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Another major test looms today for the UTSA women’s basketball team.

The Roadrunners, improved but still a work in progress in their second season under Coach Karen Aston, host the UAB Blazers in a New Year’s Eve contest at noon in the Convocation Center.

UTSA (2-8, 0-1 in Conference USA) is coming off its first home loss of the season Thursday night.

To recap, the Roadrunners hit a halfcourt shot at the buzzer and led by five points at the half. They led by three at the end of three quarters. But they couldn’t hold on, falling 62-57 to all C-USA guard Keiunna Walker and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters.

The Blazers (8-3, 0-2 in Conference USA) likely don’t have a player with Walker’s credentials. But they do feature two capable backcourt players in senior Margaret Whitley and freshman Denim DeShields.

Whitley and DeShields are the sparks for a team that leads Conference USA in scoring. The Blazers and Rice Owls both average 77.4 points per game.

Whitley, DeShields and forward Lyndsey Robson all play big minutes, with the three averaging 25 minutes or more. They’re 1-2-3 in scoring, respectively, for the Blazers and 10th-year coach Randy Norton.

DeShields comes from a notable athletic family, with her father, Delino DeShields, Sr., having played 13 years in the major league baseball. Her brother, Delino Jr., is in the major leagues and her sister, Diamond, makes her living in professional basketball in the WNBA.

To beat UAB, UTSA will need to guard the three-point line. The Blazers lead the conference in shooting from beyond the arc at 37.8 percent, with Whitley hitting at an eye-opening 48.3 clip.

Lately, the Blazers have been frustrated in losing their first two conference games — both on the road — to the Charlotte 49ers and the UTEP Miners. The Blazers were stymied in a 76-58 loss at UTEP Thursday night on the first game of a road trip through Texas.


UTSA 2-8, 0-1
UAB 8-3, 0-2

Coming up

UTSA at Middle Tennessee State, Jan. 5
UTSA at Western Kentucky, Jan. 7

Louisiana Tech rallies in the fourth quarter to knock off UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Louisiana Tech guard Keiunna Walker fell hard underneath the UTSA basket early in the fourth quarter and wobbled off the floor to take a breather.

A few minutes of rest was all she needed.

Jordyn Jenkins. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins scored 21 points for her fourth straight game of 20 or more. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Walker returned late in the game to knock down two shots, helping LA Tech rally for a 62-57 victory over the Roadrunners.

Lady Techsters coach Brooke Stoehr, with her team down three points at the end of three quarters, applauded her team’s defensive effort down the stretch.

“I thought the defensive effort in the fourth quarter was tremendous, to hold them to 10 (points),” Stoehr said. “We had two quarters, the first quarter and fourth quarter, I thought we were pretty solid defensively.

“(We’d) given up a bunch of offensive rebounds in the second and third quarters, and we just talked to them a lot about, ‘Hey, they’re a great rebounding team,’ and (UTSA coach) Karen (Aston) has ’em playing so hard.

“They put a lot of pressure on you with (Jordyn) Jenkins and (Elyssa) Coleman in there, in the paint. I think (UTSA guard Hailey) Atwood had three or four (offensive boards) at halftime on the offensive end.

“So, just really proud of our group, and how they continue to fight. It’s tough to win on the road.”

With the victory, Louisiana Tech (8-4 overall) overcame the absence of injured forward Anna Larr Roberson and evened its record in Conference USA to 1-1.

Hailey Atwood. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Hailey Atwood finished with six points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA (2-8, 0-1) skidded to its third straight loss, coming up short on its home court against one of the conference’s better teams.

For Roadrunners coach Karen Aston, the loss was a tough one because she wanted to win her C-USA opener for everyone in her home arena who attended on a holiday week night.

She also wanted a win for her players, who have put in the hard work at practices this season, only to lose by seven or fewer points in seven of the eight losses.

“Even though (fans) wanted to win tonight, I think they would appreciate the effort and how close we are right now. I know the focus is on us not finishing games. But we weren’t even in the games last year. We’ve made remarkable progress.”

With UTSA holding a 47-44 lead entering the fourth quarter, Louisiana Tech forward Lotte Sant immediately stepped out and nailed a three to forge a tie.

From there, both teams went cold, scoreless for almost four minutes. In that stretch, Walker had to leave the game when she was hit from behind and fell hard under the UTSA basket.

Walker walked off the floor after both the LA Tech team trainer and coach came out to check on her. It was potentially a big loss for the Lady Techsters, because she had 16 points at the time.

Kyra White. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Kyra White was held scoreless on zero for six shooting, but she contributed in a big way with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Fortunately for LA Tech, she returned three minutes later just as UTSA was beginning to pick up some momentum.

Coleman went to work inside, got fouled and sank two free throws with 2:32 remaining, pulling the Roadrunners to within one.

On the next trip upcourt for LA Tech, Walker knocked down an 18-foot jumper. After Jenkins answered for UTSA with a bucket to make it a one-point game again, Walker struck one more time.

Getting the ball on the left side, she circled to the right on the dribble and then cut to the basket, sinking a driving layup while also drawing a foul.

Walker lay motionless after she hit the floor and had to come out again, the victim of apparent cramping.

Teammate Mackenzie Wurm, stepping to the line in Walker’s place, knocked down the free throw for a 59-55 lead with 1:30 remaining.

UTSA could get no closer than two points the rest of the way.

“Just reallty proud of our players,” Stoehr said. “We’ve had a lot of people step up. We’re a little short-handed right now. Just, facing a lot of adversity. So it’s good to see our bench come in and do what they did.”


UTSA 2-8, 0-1
LA Tech 8-4, 1-1

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Saturday, at noon


Louisiana Tech — Keiunna Walker, 20 points on seven of 15 from the field and six of seven at the free throw line; Lotte Sant, 15 points on five of six from 3-point distance; Salma Bates, 12 points and six rebounds; Amaya Brannon, 10 points, three rebounds and three steals.

UTSA — Jordyn Jenkins, 21 points on nine of 20 shooting from the field; Elyssa Coleman, double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, with four of 11 shooting; Queen Ulabo, eight points on three of four afield; Hailey Atwood, six points and seven rebounds off the bench; Kyra White, zero points, seven assists and six rebounds; Sidney Love, two points and three assists.

Madison Cockrell and Jordyn Jenkins celebrate after Cockrell hit a long shot to end the first half. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Madison Cockrell and Jordyn Jenkins celebrate after Cockrell hits a long shot to end the first half. – Photo by Joe Alexander

First half

Freshman Madison Cockrell banked in a 40-footer at the halftime buzzer to give the UTSA Roadrunners an emotional lift and a 33-28 lead at intermission.

Cockrell’s heave from just inside the halfcourt stripe, launched on the dribble, underscored UTSA’s shot-making ability — and perhaps its good fortune — in the half.

The Roadrunners connected on 15 of 31 from the field and three of six from 3-point distance over the first and second quarters.


Louisiana Tech forward Anna Larr Roberson, a career 1,000-point scorer for the Lady Techsters, did not play. She was on the bench with what appeared to be a cast on her right hand. A LA Tech spokesman described it as a finger injury.

UTSA freshman Alexis Parker did not play. She had a walking boot on her right foot and wasn’t suited up. Parker, from Brandeis High School in San Antonio, scored 11 points in UTSA’s last game, a 93-89 overtime loss at Houston on Dec. 21.

JB’s video replay

Jenkins on the run

Driving for two

In the spin cycle

Lady Techsters veterans pay a visit to test the young Roadrunners

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The three-time national champion Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters, one of the original powers in women’s college basketball, will play in San Antonio tonight against the UTSA Roadrunners.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Led by Jordyn Jenkins, the leading scorer in Conference USA, UTSA (2-7) hopes to start a winning trend in its first C-USA game of the season.

Jenkins averages 20.6 points for the Roadrunners, who are undefeated at 2-0 on the home court and winless in five road games, plus two at neutral sites.

Six of UTSA’s seven losses have come by seven points or less, including a 93-89 loss in overtime at Houston on Dec. 19, the team’s last outing before breaking for Christmas.

In the game at UH, the Roadrunners erased a 21-point deficit with a stirring rally that fell short, as they dropped a 93-89 decision to the Cougars in overtime.

Louisiana Tech (7-4, 0-1) lost its first conference game, falling to the UTEP Miners 62-54 at home on Dec. 18. The Lady Techsters have been off since then.

Picked second in Conference USA, the LA Tech features guard Keiunna Walker and 6-foot-3 forward Anna Larr Roberson. UTSA coach Karen Aston also pointed out assist leader Silvia Nativi as another concern.

UTSA is a young team, with Aston expected to start a freshman point guard in Sidney Love and is likely to use three and perhaps four other first-year players in the rotation.

Love, Alexis Parker, Madison Cockrell and Maya Linton all played in the Houston game. Siena Guttadauro is a talented fifth freshman for UTSA.

Nobody is calling the Roadrunners the Baby Birds yet, but they could. They’ll be tested by the likes of Walker and Roberson, who have combined to play in 213 games at LA Tech. Walker, the preseason Player of the Year in the conference, has played in 120.

Both helped lead LA Tech last season to 21 victories, a trip to the C-USA tournament title game and an appearance in the Women’s NIT.


LA Tech was one of the storied programs in the women’s game in the 1980s. The Lady Techsters won the 1981 national title in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and then claimed NCAA championships in 1982 and 1988.


“I know that they’re a very developed team,” UTSA’s Kyra White said of Lousiana Tech. “They have a lot of experience. Multiple guards coming back that have been there for a year, multiple years. Very strong post presence down low. And I just know that they’re going to come in to our house ready to compete. So, we just have to match that energy.”


UTSA 2-7, 0-0
LA Tech 7-4, 0-1

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Saturday at noon.

Monster rally in Houston boosts UTSA leading into C-USA play

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Idaho 76-69 in women's basketball on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins averages 20.6 points per game to rank 16th in the nation and first in Conference USA. The Roadrunners open C-USA play by hosting the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters Thursday night. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

More than a week has passed since a remarkable women’s college basketball game unfolded at the Fertitta Center in Houston.

In the beginning, the Houston Cougars roamed the passing lanes and pounced on just about every pass thrown by the young UTSA Roadrunners.

An early lead for Houston ballooned to 10. Then to 15. As UTSA kept throwing the ball away, the advantage for the home team widened to 21.

It was only the second quarter, and it looked as if the Cougars might win by 30 or 40 or more. Well, let’s just say that it didn’t quite work out that way.

With UTSA junior forward Jordyn Jenkins putting on a show en route to a career-high 35 points, the Roadrunners opened eyes by unleashing a monster rally, coming all the way back into a few second-half tie scores, before losing 93-89 in overtime.

In one sense, the Houston game is ancient history. It was played nine days ago. Before Christmas. Back before the arctic blast.

In the present tense, the weather has warmed again, and UTSA (2-7) is back home at the Convocation Center, hoping to start a winning trend to coincide with the start of Conference USA play.

Eager to put all those pre-conference losses behind them, Roadrunners are preparing to host the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (7-4) on Thursday night, before they entertain the UAB Blazers (8-2) on Saturday afternoon.

Their last game, nonetheless, remains top of mind.

Coaches and players keep talking about Houston. Aston played the tape of it for her players’ again on Tuesday morning.

The video showed two versions of the Roadrunners.

One of them failed to answer the call after the opening tip, committed numerous turnovers and eventually fell behind, 39-18, midway through the second quarter.

The other played with heart and rallied on a 32-11 streak over a 13-minute stretch that spanned the end of the second and most of the third periods.

That same team battled to the end, with standout performances from several players, including double-digit scoring efforts from Jenkins, Elyssa Coleman, Kyra White and Alexis Parker.

“We re-watched (the tape) this morning,” Aston said late Tuesday afternoon. “What I still don’t know is, what turns their motors on? I mean, I don’t know if they were nervous to start the game, or what.

“They looked a little bit frozen, and then — somewhere in the midst of the second quarter — we got our motors running.”

White, a junior from Judson, said the team still feels positive vibes from the Houston game, even though it will go down as a loss in the record book.

And even though UTSA lost some close games earlier in the season with inconsistent play in the fourth quarter, she said she has a good feeling about the team overall.

“Our last game was Houston, and we lost in overtime, but the game showed a lot for our team,” White said. “We showed grit. We showed fight. We just simply didn’t quit. It was a good way to leave before (Christmas) break.

“Coming back, we’re just trying to get everybody back under their feet and and ready to go play.”

From this point forward, every team that UTSA plays will have Jenkins’ name circled on the scouting report.

At Houston, she struggled early with the physicality of the Cougars’ defense, but she kept battling and hit 12 of 17 shots from the field.

In one stretch, she wowed the crowd at the Fertitta Center with deft moves that you might see in a pro game.

Once, while set up at the elbow, she pivoted, spun through traffic and flipped up a shot left-handed into the net.

In another sequence, she came down on the fast break, sweeping past defenders and into the paint, to score again with the left hand.

The right-handed Jenkins leads Conference USA at 20.6 points per game, while making 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three.

She’s on a roll now, having scored 20 or more in five of her last six outings.

“She’s extremely skilled,” Aston said. “There’s no question. She works on her craft. I mean, she’s in the gym all the time (and) she wants to be great.

“The growth of our team is that we’re starting to figure out who can do what, and I think our team is comfortable knowing they need to get her the ball some.

“I’m not sure we knew that a month ago.

“For her, she’s making better decisions when she gets doubled. Right now, people are, I would say, picking poison against us.”

Aston said the team still needs other players to step up and contribute.

“We also need to see Elyssa Coleman get the ball a little more down low,” the coach said. “She was efficient when she got it (at Houston), and then, you know, we need to have (other) players make open (perimeter) shots.”

Coming up

Louisiana Tech at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
UAB at UTSA, Saturday, noon.

C-USA standings

FAU 1-0, 8-2
UTEP 1-0, 8-2
Middle Tennessee 1-0, 8-2
Charlotte 1-0, 5-5
Western Kentucky 0-0, 3-6
North Texas 0-0, 3-7
UTSA 0-0, 2-7
Rice 0-1, 9-1
UAB 0-1, 8-2
Louisiana Tech 0-1, 7-4
FIU 0-1, 5-5

UTSA men to embark on a C-USA trip to Louisiana Tech, UAB

Japhet Medor. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Japhet Medor returned to practice Wednesday after experience holiday travel delays in getting to San Antonio from his home in Florida. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Forging through a few uncertainties coming out of the Christmas break, the UTSA Roadrunners are scheduled to take a bus ride to Louisiana today on their first Conference USA trip of the season.

The Roadrunners (6-6, 0-1) are scheduled to play the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-5, 0-1) on Thursday night in Ruston. Next up, UTSA will move on to Alabama to face the UAB Blazers on Saturday.

The most pressing issue for UTSA centers around starting point guard Japhet Medor.

Steve Henson. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners hope to gain traction in the Conference USA race with a victory at Louisiana Tech. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Like most players on the team, Medor went home for the holidays. He was in Florida visiting family as the Roadrunners took three days off following a Dec. 22 home loss to North Texas.

When UTSA returned to on campus workouts Monday, Medor was not there.

Like a lot of people traveling this week, he had been unable to get from Point A to Point B on his itinerary. The last time I checked with Roadrunners coach Steve Henson on Tuesday afternoon, Medor was expected to arrive in San Antonio some time Tuesday night.

The team’s leading scorer was due to work out with the team Wednesday morning before everyone boarded a bus bound for Ruston. In a late-breaking development, the Medor travel issue has been resolved.

Henson just texted to say that Medor had arrived in San Antonio on Tuesday night, as scheduled, and practiced with the team on Wednesday.

Another issue of note was the ongoing question surrounding the status of 7-foot center Carlton Linguard, Jr. UTSA, as expected, has forwarded its request to the NCAA to clear a path for the former Stevens High School standout to gain immediate eligibility.

A transfer from Kansas State, Linguard has been ineligible since he arrived this summer. Henson said Linguard fared well academically in the fall semester, and so UTSA has made the request.

“We’ve submitted the paperwork and hopefully will get an answer from the NCAA soon,” Henson said.

Another unrelated complication in Linguard’s efforts to play this season started to unfold when the team took a mid-December trip to play at New Mexico and Utah. He apparently suffered a concussion on the trip and is now in protocol.

Linguard’s absence from practice was a factor Tuesday afternoon.

“That affected our workout quite a bit,” Henson said. “Our guys hit the wall today. We were without Isaiah (Addo-Ankrah), Carlton and Japhet. So that gives us 12 bodies and two point guards (Erik Czumbel and Christian Tucker).

“So they had to go every single rep. Every single rep they were on the court … There wasn’t much down time for anybody. There was just one sub on each team.”

Linguard’s situation could be vital to the long-term success of the team this year. Since he started to practice full speed following a months-long knee rehabilitation, he showed quickness, jumping ability and multiple skills.

Henson said he doesn’t know how long it will take the NCAA to sort out Linguard’s academic issue.

“My belief is that they move a little faster (on requests) during the season,” the coach said. “The NCAA knows people are sitting around waiting on that. But I think there’s a lot of stuff going on with the (football) bowl games, waivers and appeals and those kind of things.

“I would hope (in Linguard’s case) relatively soon. It’s possible they look at it and want to know more information. More clarification. Our compliance office does a great job handling those situations. We kind of lean on them for it.”

Henson said Linguard “did a very good job in the classroom, an excellent job” in the fall semester. That was part of the process, to show that since he has been in school at UTSA, that he was making progress, the coach said.

“He’s a good student,” Henson said. “He’s got a good (grade point average). We just got to show that we’ve got everything lined up for him. That he’s in good standing. That he’s in good hands. That the move here has been positive for him.”

As for Addo-Ankrah, one of UTSA’s top three-point shooters, it was announced prior to UTSA’s Dec. 22 game against North Texas that he would be out a month with a fracture in his left wrist. It’s his non-shooting hand.

If everything works out on his recovery timeline, fans might expect to see the Houston native back on the floor some time around the first of February.

Henson, talking after Tuesday afternoon’s workout, smiled when it was suggested that a healthy Addo-Ankrah and an eligible and healthy Linguard were two of his recent requests to Santa Claus.

“Those would have been pretty high on the Christmas list, for sure,” the coach said.

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Thursday, 6 p.m.


UTSA 6-6, 0-1
Louisiana Tech 7-5, 0-1

As a cold wind blows outside, North Texas’ Ousmane rains 37 points on UTSA

John Buggs III. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard John Buggs III led a second-half charge for the UTSA Roadrunners, but the North Texas Mean Green stopped the rally and puilled away for a lopsided victory in the Conference USA opener for both teams. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Mother Nature directed an Arctic blast of cold air at San Antonio on Thursday afternoon, just about the same time that the North Texas Mean Green and UTSA Roadrunners tipped off in a Conference USA opener at the Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners fell to 6-6 on the season and to 0-1 in Conference USA after losing 78-54 to North Texas Thursday night. – Photo by Joe Alexander

At the end of the night, North Texas forward Abou Ousmane emerged as a force of nature himself. He rained a career-high 37 points on the UTSA Roadrunners in leading the Mean Green to a 78-54 victory.

Ousmane hit 15 of 19 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds as North Texas (10-2) won its fifth in a row on the season. In addition, the Mean Green added to their recent dominance of the Roadrunners, improving to 9-2 against UTSA over the past eight seasons.

Ousmane, a 6-foot-10 Brooklyn native, was the talk of post-game interviews. Coming in, he was averaging a little more than 11 points. His previous career high was 23.

“I was most impressed with his patience,” North Texas coach Grant McCasland said. “He was 15 of 19, and I thought he was composed. And then when he took his time and our team was patient on the offensive end, I thought we got the shots we wanted. That showed in 17 assists and nine turnovers.”

Jacob Germany. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Jacob Germany, playing on a recently sprained ankle, contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes against North Texas. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA (6-6) didn’t shoot well in the first half but still managed to stay within reach of the visitors, trailing by 11 at halftime. Led by Japhet Medor an John Buggs III, the Roadrunners hit a few threes, attacked the basket and pulled to within one point twice early in the second half.

A driving layup by Josh Farmer capped a 19-9 run and pulled the Roadrunners to within one point, 43-42, with 12:46 remaining.

From there, the Roadrunners started to settle for jump shots, lost a little of their edge on each possession and watched as the Mean Green exploded for 17 unanswered points. A dunk by Ousmane capped the streak and made it an 18-point game, 60-42, with 6:55 remaining.

UTSA never got closer than 15 the rest of the way and lapsed again in the final minutes, as North Texas rolled up as much as a 27-point lead. It all left UTSA coach Steve Henson and his staff searching for answers.

Asked what he told his players in the locker room, he said, “I was pretty honest with ’em. It’s not acceptable. You know, it’s a home game. It’s a conference game. We were in pretty good shape there midway through the second half and ended up losing badly. You can’t feel good about that.

“If they feel good about that right now, then something’s not right. It’s just not good enough. You know, we gave up 50 percent (shooting) to them. We shoot 33 percent. Turned it over too much and got out-rebounded.

Japhet Medor. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Japhet Medor battles to create space on a drive to the hoop. Medor finished with 12 points, four assists and three rebounds – Photo by Joe Alexander

“You know, there’s not many phases of the game left. Again, proud of certain stretches of the ball game. I still love this team. I love our guys. I like their attitudes, for the most part. But we’ve got to play harder.”

Injuries played a role in the lopsided margin. UTSA was playing its first game of the season without forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, one of the team’s best three-point shooters. Addo-Ankrah, who scored 14 in his last outing, was sidelined after being diagnosed earlier this week with a wrist fracture.

Additionally, UTSA center Jacob Germany also was less than full speed. Germany twisted an ankle badly in a home game on Sunday and wasn’t himself in a couple of days of practice coming into Thursday night.

Germany had a good first half in some respects, with eight points and seven rebounds. But matched against Ousmane, it appeared he had some trouble springing off the floor and with lateral movement.

Regardless, he played with significant heart and finished with 11 points and 12 boards. Medor led the Roadrunners with 12 points and John Buggs III had 10.

Foul trouble plagued UTSA freshman standout DJ Richards. Richards had three in the first half and picked up a fourth early in the second half. He finished with eight points on three of 11 shooting. Richards was two of eight from three.

In scoring 54 points, the Roadrunners fell 16 shy of their season average. They also shot 32.7 percent from the field, which was also down from their 41.2 percent reading through the first 11 games.


North Texas 10-2, 1-0
UTSA 6-6, 0-1

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Dec. 29;; UTSA at UAB, Dec. 31.


Former UTSA great Devin Brown was a face in the crowd at courtside. Brown, No. 3 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,922 points, led the Roadrunners to the 1999 NCAA tournament. He later played in the NBA and won a championship with the Spurs. Brown was recently named to the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.

JB’s video replay

Posting up to score

Double-clutching on the drive

Taking it inside

First half

With North Texas forward Abou Ousmane scoring 2o first-half points and the Mean Green clamping down defensively, the Roadrunners found themselves down by 11 at intermission. North Texas held UTSA to 32 percent shooting and surged at the break to a 34-23 lead.

UTSA’s offense never got untracked in the half, shooting 9 of 28 from the field and 1 of 7 from three-point distance. Germany led the Roadrunners with eight points and seven rebounds at the break.

UTSA’s Steve Henson: ‘I think we’re locked in and ready to go’

Steve Henson. UTSA beat Bethune-Cookman 90-69 in men's basketball on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners not only will need to hit some shots tonight, they’ll likely need to hit the defensive glass hard to have success against the North Texas Mean Green. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Starting Conference USA play without one of his top three-point shooters and with his starting center likely hindered by a sprained ankle, Coach Steve Henson and the UTSA Roadrunners will host the North Texas Mean Green tonight at 7.

Henson said his players are ready.

“Our mindset is pretty good right now, excited,” the coach said Wednesday. “It’s kind of another start. You kind of go through different phases in a season. Certainly the start of league play is a big deal. Guys have had some good practices. I think we’re locked in and ready to go.”

In their last game, the Roadrunners (6-5) found an offensive groove in downing the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 90-69. Since that Sunday afternoon game, the team has had to face up to some adversity, with three-point shooting specialist Isaiah Addo-Ankrah ruled out for four weeks with a wrist fracture.

Also, center Jacob Germany twisted his ankle against the Wildcats, so the 6-foot-11 senior might not be full speed for the Mean Green (9-2). It’s not a great time to be at less than full speed, because North Texas has won 20 or more games in four of the last five seasons.

They won 25 last year. In doing so, the Mean Green claimed the regular-season title in the C-USA with a 14-2 record. They went on to play in the NIT, downing Texas State and then falling to Virginia in the second round. This season, the Mean Green look as salty as ever.

They’re holding teams to 51.6 points per game, which ranks second nationally behind only the Houston Cougars. Also, they’re 18th in offensive rebounding and 23rd in field goal percentage defense.

“We’ve got a great deal of respect for North Texas,” Henson said. “It’s a huge test for us right out of the gate.”

Under sixth-year coach Grant McCasland, the Mean Green play a deliberate style designed to wear down and frustrate opponents. They beat UTSA twice last year using that very formula, holding the Roadrunners to fewer than 50 points in games played in Denton and San Antonio.

This year, they’ve held opponents under 50 four times. The Saint Mary’s Gaels solved the Mean Green mystery earlier this season, winnning 63-33 in Moraga, Calif. But the Gaels, incredibly, are the only team to eclipse 60 points on North Texas thus far.

“It’s a whole combination (of things),” Henson said. “It all fits together very well. Pace gets your attention initially. Yesterday, KenPom (advanced metrics) had them as the second-slowest team in the country in number of possessions.

“You know, part of that is that they’re hard to score on. So that affects the number of possessions. It’s not just about them having long possessions offensively, but they also do that. So it’s a bunch of factors. It’s a very unique style of play.”

Players to watch

North Texas — Guard Tylor Perry, a first-team all C-USA pick last year, leads the Mean Green in scoring at 17.7 per game. He’s adept at knocking down jumpers late in the shot clock. Also, newcomer Kai Huntsberry is enjoying a solid season in his first year in Denton. He’s second in scoring at 12.6. Forward Abou Ousmane, who played with UTSA’s John Buggs III in prep school, averages 11.2 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds. Ousmane, Aaron Scott and Jayden Martinez (from Steele HS) are all significant threats on the offensive glass.

UTSA — Point guard Japhet Medor leads UTSA with 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists. Jacob Germany, who tweaked his ankle in the second half Sunday against Bethune-Cookman, averages 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds. Without injured Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, John Buggs III and D.J. Richards will need to hit some perimeter shots to keep UTSA in contention tonight. Buggs is averaging 9.8 points and Richards 9.5. Richards leads the team in three-point percentage at 41.4.

Buggs-Ousmane friendship adds a layer of intrigue to the UTSA-North Texas rivalry

John Buggs III. A beat Bethune-Cookman 90-69 in men's basketball on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s John Buggs III says his good friend Abou Ousmane of the North Texas Mean Green has been playfully ‘talking noise’ on the eve of tonight’s game at the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

If you ask John Buggs III a question, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get an interesting answer, around which he almost always spins a yarn about his life in basketball.

For instance, I asked Buggs yesterday about playing tonight at the UTSA Convocation Center against the North Texas Mean Green.

It’s the Conference USA opener for both Buggs and the UTSA Roadrunners and the Mean Green, who have been a dominant force in the league for the past five seasons.

As a newcomer in the UTSA program, Buggs has yet to experience what it’s like to host the Mean Green at the Bird Cage.

Other than last season when North Texas dominated in a 59-48 victory, the UTSA-North Texas games played in San Antonio recently have been close, coming down to one or two possessions in the final minutes.

The crowd, as you’d expect, has usually been animated and vocal.

I was curious to get Buggs’ take on the rivalry, and what the game means to him at this juncture of an up and down season for the Roadrunners.

Also, what it means to him, to get a crack at the defending conference regular-season champions on opening night.

“I feel like we’re very excited,” Buggs said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity that we have. We can definitely open a lot of eyes by getting a win, you know.”

It’s been a tough deal for UTSA to get many wins against North Texas lately.

In five previous seasons under Coach Grant McCasland, the Mean Green have posted a 6-2 record against the Roadrunners, including 3-2 in San Antonio.

Since 2017-18, North Texas has won handily in all three games against UTSA in Denton, all by double digits. In San Antonio, as mentioned, the games have been hotly contested for most of the 40 minutes on the game clock.

For instance, in December 2017, UTSA freshmen Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace and Co. battled to the end before North Texas made a few plays and won, 72-71.

In January 2019, Jackson hit a memorable, spinning jump shot in the final seconds to lift the Roadrunners to a 76-74 victory.

Two years ago, during the pandemic season, North Texas played at UTSA on back-to-back nights. The Mean Green pulled out a 77-70 decision on the front end of the double dip.

But UTSA bounced back the next night to exact revenge, winning 77-69 against a North Texas team that would go on to play in the NCAA tournament.

Last season, North Texas was all over UTSA at the Bird Cage with a smothering defensive effort. It was all Mean Green down the stretch in a 59-48 drubbing.

Buggs likely doesn’t know all the history, but he does know a little about this year’s North Texas squad based on film study.

He knows North Texas is a quality team, one of the best in the nation defensively, and that a win tonight for UTSA could really alter the trajectory of the season.

“I’m really excited,” Buggs said, a smile creasing his face. “One of my (former) teammates plays on their team, so we’ve been talking back and forth a little bit.”

Who does he know?

“Abou Ousmane,” Buggs replied. “We played together for a year at prep school.”

In Connecticut, in the 2018-19 season, right?

At the Putnam Science Academy?

“Yeah, he’s a little younger than me,” Buggs said. “But we were at the same prep school for a little while. Last year, when I was at Juco (at Hill College, in Hillsboro) I went to watch him play (in Denton) many, many times.

“(Ousmane) was one of my best friends in prep school. So, you know, we got a little duel going on (this week).”

If you think about it, the Buggs-Ousmane reunion is quite a hoops coincidence. Buggs is from northwest Louisiana and Ousmane, a 6-10 forward, is from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Both played together at the prep school in northeast Connecticut for one year, became friends and now they’re on opposite teams for a bragging-rights type game, scheduled to be contested in San Antonio, a few days before Christmas in 2022.

“We definitely have kept in touch,” Buggs said, smiling. “It’s going to be a show (tonight) for sure.”

So, have you talked to him or texted in the last several days?

“Yeah, I talked to him two days ago?” he said in an interview Wednesday at UTSA. “Actually before the Bethune-Cookman game (last Sunday), he was calling, talking noise. You know, he was throwing (verbal) shots. I said, ‘We ready.’ It’s going to be a good test for us tomorrow.


Wrist injury is expected to sideline UTSA’s Isaiah Addo-Ankrah for four weeks

Quietly, UTSA forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah served as an inspiration to his teammates for all the extra time he spent working on his game in the offseason.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah. A beat Bethune-Cookman 90-69 in men's basketball on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah played in all 11 games this season and averaged 7.3 points before an X-ray revealed a wrist fracture that would keep him out four weeks. — File photo by Joe Alexander

In early September, for instance, the UTSA women’s basketball team usually worked out in the morning hours, followed by the women’s volleyball squad in the early afternoon, followed later in the day by Addo-Ankrah and his friends in men’s basketball.

Sometimes, a visitor would show up in the morning thinking that Coach Karen Aston’s women’s basketball squad would be on the floor, only to discover that it was a scheduled day off.

Instead, the visitor would walk in to a nearly empty gym to the sound of squeaking shoes, with a couple of Coach Steve Henson’s men’s team players taking advantage of the open court to get up extra shots.

One day, it was Addo-Ankrah, who explained later that he’d committed to complete a couple of challenges from coaches — to make 10,000 3-pointers, outside of scheduled practices — in two different segments of the offseason.

As a consequence, the Houston native was in the gym up to three times a day from June through September. It was disheartening, in that regard, for the Roadrunners to learn recently that a fractured wrist 11 games into the season will sideline Addo-Ankrah for four weeks.

“It’s really disturbing to hear that,” UTSA guard John Buggs III said on the eve of the team’s Conference USA opener against North Texas. “Isaiah’s probably one of the more hard-working players on our team.

“He doesn’t have as many (natural) gifts as other people athletically, but, man, his work ethic … It’s just so heartbreaking for him. We hate that for him. Hopefully he’ll get well as soon as possible.”

The renewal of the hotly-contested, in-state rivalry between the Roadrunners and the Mean Green will take place on Thursday night at UTSA. Fortunately for UTSA, center Jacob Germany is expected to play.

Germany suffered a nasty-looking ankle sprain on Sunday afternoon in the Roadrunners’ 90-69 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. UTSA (6-5) had a day off on Monday and then practiced Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the defending C-USA regular-season champions.

Led by guards Tylor Perry and Kai Huntsberry, North Texas (9-2) has won four in a row on the season. In addition, the Grant McCasland-coached Mean Green have won six out of eight against the Roadrunners in the series over the past five seasons.

Henson discussed his team’s preparations and his personnel issues after a two-hour drill Wednesday afternoon.

“We didn’t do much, up and down, either day,” Henson said. “As much as we’d love for there to be some pace in the game tomorrow, we don’t anticipate there will be a lot of pace, so we did a lot of stuff on the halfcourt, offensively and defensively. Jacob was able to do most of it both days.

“He looked progressively better today than he did yesterday, so I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent, but he’ll play.”

Addo-Ankrah apparently had been playing with some discomfort in his left (non-shooting) wrist for some time. Because of lingering pain, a new X-ray was ordered. It revealed a fracture.

“He’s going to miss about four weeks,” the coach said.

The circumstances on how Addo-Ankrah suffered the injury weren’t immediately clear.

“He injured it a long time ago,” Henson said. “Initially, it didn’t show a fracture. He started feeling a little better. But he wasn’t quite getting over the hump there, so they re-X-rayed and they found a small fracture.”

For the season, Addo-Ankrah had played in all 11 games with eight starts. A three-point shooting specialist, he was fifth on the team, averaging 7.3 points.

Though Addo-Ankrah made a season-high four triples on Sunday afternoon against Bethune-Cookman, his shooting percentages were down from last season, as he was hitting .366 from the field and .313 from three.

Henson didn’t specify how he planned to fill the 23.5-minutes per game void. But, likely, players such as Aleu Aleu, Lamin Sabally and Lachlan Bofinger will need to step up.

“I think (Isaiah’s) presence will be missed as far as spacing the floor and creating driving lanes, that type of thing,” Buggs said. “But we have other guys that can get in the lane or attack the paint, affect the game with offensive rebounding, that type of stuff.

“I think we have guys that are ready to step up and take on a bigger role.”

Buggs said it’s a good sign for the team to see the efforts that Germany made to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

“It just sends a message that we’re all about being tough and trying to grind it out, and do whatever we need to do to win,” Buggs said. “I feel like, with Jacob playing, that puts us in the best position to win.”

Coming up

North Texas at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.


UTSA 6-5
North Texas 9-2


North Texas’ top players are guards Perry and Huntsberry, with 6-10 power forward Abou Ousmane playing inside. Buggs said he was Ousmane’s teammate years ago in Connecticut at the Putnam Science Academy.

“He was one of my best friends in prep school,” Buggs said.

Buggs said he talked to Ousmane recently, likely in the days before the Bethune-Cookman game. “He was calling, talking noise,” Buggs said. “He was throwing (verbal) shots. I said, ‘Hey, we ready.’ It’s going to be a good test for us tomorrow. Definitely.”

The Mean Green have won at least 20 games in four of the past five seasons under McCasland. They reached the NCAA tournament in 2021 and advanced to the round of 32.

Last year, they finished 25-7 and 16-2 in the C-USA. North Texas played in the NIT, defeated Texas State and then lost to Virginia in the second round.