After losing three games in a row and six of their last seven, the youthful UTSA Roadrunners will host the defending champion Charlotte 49ers today at 2 p.m. in Conference USA women’s basketball.
The Roadrunners are looking for their first victory since New Year’s Eve when they won at home, defeating the UAB Blazers, 71-68.
Since then, they lost at Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky on the road last week.
Hoping to reverse their fortunes at home Wednesday night, they fouled too much and couldn’t make stops when they needed them, falling 74-67 to the UTEP Miners.
Not even a 37-point, 11-rebound performance from Roadrunners forward Jordyn Jenkins could offset a huge deficit in trips to the free-throw line (39-16) and in free throws made (26-11).
Playing defense and keeping opponents off the line have been dual problems for the UTSA women all season. Opponents have hit 228 of 324 at the stripe. UTSA, by comparison is 142 for 202.
Despite their problems, the Roadrunners have played hard and have been in most games for all 40 minutes.
Of their 11 losses, eight have come by seven points or less. Jenkins, averaging a C-USA leading 19.3 points, hit 15 of 22 from the field against UTEP. The 6-foot Washington native has scored 30 or more twice in her last six games.
The headliners for the 49ers include guards Dazia Lawrence and Jada McMillian. Lawrence had 31 points and five steals in the team’s last outing, a 77-67 victory at home last Saturday against Florida Atlantic. McMillian leads the C-USA in assists.
Charlotte guard Mikayla Boykin, formerly of the Duke Blue Devils, announced on Nov. 30 a career-ending injury. In making the announcement, she said she had suffered a fifth anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Charlotte 7-7, 3-2
UTSA 3-11, 1-4
UTSA’s Karen Aston landed her first NCAA Division I coaching job in 2007 at Charlotte.
Under Aston, the 49ers were 86-47 with four national postseason tournaments. In 2009, they reached the NCAA tournament to cap a 23-9 season. They also won 27 games and advanced to the Women’s NIT semifinals in 2011.
Cara Consuegra has coached the 49ers since the 2011-12 season. Under Consuegra, a former star at the University of Iowas, the 49ers have won 20 or more games in three of their last six years.
Last season, Consuegra’s Niners went 22-9 overall and posted the best regular-season record in the conference at 15-3. After claiming the C-USA postseason title, they advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since Aston’s 2009 trip.