UTSA’s Jenkins shines after making necessary adjustments

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

Jordyn Jenkins had one of her best games as a UTSA player with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The formula for Jordyn Jenkins’ success on Saturday afternoon was pretty simple. UTSA’s rising standout in women’s basketball made good decisions with the ball. When the 6-foot-1 junior forward wasn’t passing for an assist, she was swinging it to a teammate.

Then, when the traffic cleared, and the ball returned to her hands, she’d either make the Idaho Vandals pay by sticking an easy bucket from close range or by hitting a jumper from the perimeter.

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

Freshman Sidney Love from San Antonio-area Steele High School scored a season-high 17 points for her third straight game in double figures. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Unlike previous games when she was saddled with early foul trouble, she stayed away from those agonizing whistles in scoring a team-high 22 points for the Roadrunners in a much-needed 76-69 victory.

“Mostly when it comes to me fouling, they’re offensive fouls,” Jenkins said. “Like, very rare (are they) defensive fouls on the shot. I mean, I really try not to foul anyways. I feel like I have good body control.

“So, I just kind of have to keep that in mind and also have the mindset that I can’t foul. It helps when the team defense is good, then there’s less pressure on me.”

In losing five of six games to start the season, including three in a row, the Roadrunners’ team defense was not good. UTSA coach Karen Aston said as much on the eve of a match with the Vandals of the Big Sky Conference.

A 60-55 loss at Texas State on Nov. 30, when UTSA sqauandered an early 12-point lead, was still front of mind through nine days of practice between games. After holding Idaho to 33.3 percent shooting from the field, though, Aston felt much better.

“Well, I think we were ready to play,” the coach said. “After the bad taste we had in our mouths at Texas State, unfortunately for the players, we had a long break. We did a lot of practicing. I think we accomplished some things … I (think) our defense is improving. Attention to detail is improving.

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

Senior Queen Ulabo came off the bench against Idaho and sparked UTSA with a season-high 15 points. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I thought some adjustments we made during the game made a difference. I thought Jordyn adjusted as the game went along. You can tell every game, people have a game plan on her, and what they’re going to do with her. I thought she made a lot of extra passes today and didn’t force things.

“She kind of took what they gave her.”

With Aston starting three freshmen (Sidney Love, Alexis Parker and Maya Linton) and playing with as many as three on the floor at a time through the game, the young Roadrunners responded, building a lead as large as 19 points early in the fourth quarter.

At the outset, they set the tone, opening with three former San Antonio high school players in the backcourt — Love (from Steele), Parker (Brandeis) and junior Kyra White (Judson). Up front were Jenkins, from Kent, Wash., and Linton from Duncanville High School.

When White tweaked an ankle early in the first quarter, she hobbled off the court, returned briefly and then was shut down for the remainder of the afternoon. It was a situation that could have been disastrous, because the 5-10 USC transfer has been one of the team’s most productive players.

But even with White on the bench, the Roadrunners brought in players determined to win, all making plays, hitting shots and gradually building the lead. At the end of the first quarter, it was 18-14. By halftime, it was 37-28.

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

Karen Aston’s UTSA Roadrunners improved to 2-5 for the season and 2-0 at home in the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Four freshmen — Parker, Love, Siena Guttadauro and Madison Cockrell — had a hand in an impressive 11-0 run to the halftime buzzer. In the second half, the Roadrunners kept up the pressure by hitting the Vandals with another 11-0 streak, this one at the outset of the fourth quarter.

Junior Queen Ulabo started it off with a three out of the corner. Love, the prep player of the year in the San Antonio area last season, capped it with her own corner three that hiked the score to 65-46 with 6:16 remaining.

Jenkins, meanwhile, imposed her will at almost every turn. In reaching the 20-point mark for the third time in her last four games, she hit eight of 13 shots from the field in the face of an assortment of traps and double teams.

Jenkins also had eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. And, what about fouls? She was whistled for only one, while drawing seven from the Vandals who were doing their best to defend a player with significant skill and touch on her shot.

In postgame interviews, she said she’s dealing with the extra attention from opposing teams as best she can.

“Like coach said, I’m going to just have to take whatever the other team gives me,” said Jenkins, now averaging 18.4 points per game. “I’ve noticed on the court (it’s) a lot more blurry, with a lot more people in my vision, so, in order to make myself better … whatever I do, it needs to be quick.

“Getting my teammates open is what I need to do a little more, just because they’re doubling me.”


Idaho 2-6
UTSA 2-5

Coming up

UTSA at Incarnate Word, Thursday, 6 p.m.

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

The UTSA Roadrunners did a nice job in holding the Idaho Vandals to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 32.1 percent from three. But once again, they allowed their opponent to take too many trips to the free-throw line. Idaho hit 20 of 26 free throws for the game, including 15 of 17 in the second half. UTSA, playing at home, made 14 of 21 freebies. – Photo by Joe Alexander


The five UTSA freshmen that Aston brought into the program over the summer all made their mark against the Vandals. Love had 17 points, five rebounds and two assists. Parker played the most minutes of any of them with 31. She had five points, three assists and a steal. Linton, tasked with guarding Idaho scoring whiz Beyonce Bea, had four rebounds. Off the bench, Cockrell had three points and a steal. Guttadauro finished with three points, hitting from behind the arc on a chaotic play at the end of the first half.

Queen’s day

Senior guard/forward Queen Ulabo had a big day offensively, coming off the bench to score 15 points in 25 minutes. Ulabo made five of eight from the field and four of six from three. Her four three-point baskets were a season high.

Idaho standouts

Guard Sydney Gandy and forward Beyonce Bea led the Vandals with 23 points apiece. A 6-1 forward who likes to play on the perimeter, Bea came into the game eighth in the nation in scoring, averaging 22 per game. UTSA did a decent job in holding her to four of 16 shooting from the field. Bea made UTSA pay, though, in hitting 15 of 18 at the free-throw line. Gandy sank eight of 19 afield, including five of 13 from three.

Video highlights

Alexis Parker’s sweet dish

Siena’s crazy play

Love is all you need


Sorry about the misspelled name in my fourth-quarter tweet (see above). UTSA’s freshman point guard is Sidney Love.

Aston says UTSA must learn to defend better without fouling

Kyra White. UTSA beat Abilene Christian 76-70 on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' first women's basketball home game of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Versatile guard Kyra White has averaged 7.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists despite playing five of her first six games away from home. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Saying bluntly that “we’ve got to grow up,” UTSA women’s basketball coach Karen Aston wants her players to acknowledge inconsistencies on the defensive end that have led to a 1-5 start to the season.

“We’ve got to do things better,” she said.

The schedule has been an obvious factor in the first month, with Aston’s Roadrunners losing all five games played away from the Convocation Center.

Karen Aston. UTSA beat Abilene Christian 76-70 on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' first women's basketball home game of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Karen Aston has challenged her team to step it up defensively. – Photo by Joe Alexander

But on the eve of a Saturday afternoon home game against the University of Idaho, Aston downplayed the schedule and instead lamented what she called a “passive mentality” on defense that has led to an opponent parade to the free-throw line.

In fact, Roadrunners’ opponents have built a lopsided 114-84 advantage — collectively, in all six games — in free throw attempts. Opponents have also surged to a 95-59 edge in free throws made.

Even though UTSA has played three road games and two at neutral sites, it’s never a good thing for a coach to see that wide of a disparity. For the team to succeed in the long term, defending without fouling must become a priority.

“We have to get better,” Aston said. “We have to get in better position. We have to get more disciplined with what we do on the defensive end, because it’s overwhelming right now, the difference in the free throws.”

At least some of the disparity stems from the nature of the game. Ever since Dr. Naismith hung up the peach basket, home teams at all levels of the game have always shot more free throws.

In addition, it’s also true that teams with young and inexperienced players in key roles always tend to get beat up on the road.

But with games looming at Incarnate Word on Dec. 15 and at Houston on Dec. 19, followed by the start of the Conference USA schedule on Dec. 29 at home against Louisiana Tech, it’s a critical juncture of the schedule for the Roadrunners.

If they’re going to win consistently in the spring, when it matters, they need to start making necessary adjustments now.

“We have to be more disciplined and communicate better,” Aston said. “That’s just because we’re throwing so many young kids in the mix, so many that didn’t play last year. I mean, it’s just part of it. We’ve got to grow up. We’ve got to do things better than we’re doing.”

Aston said the Roadrunners, generally speaking, have been guilty of being out of position and reaching to make stops.

“I say this all the time, sometimes you can make a mistake by getting beat, but you don’t want to double it by fouling,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing … We’re getting beat. We’re letting someone have position, or cut on us, and then we’re late to help, so we foul. Or, we get beat and we foul.

“So we have to make some adjustments. We have to get better.”

Coming up

Idaho at UTSA, Saturday, 1 p.m.


Idaho 2-5
UTSA 1-5


Like UTSA, Idaho has struggled in the early going of the season. But Vandals forward Beyonce Bea is eighth in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.6 points on 50.9 percent shooting from the field. The 6-1 native of Washougal, Wash., is also averaging 9.4 rebounds …

Three UTSA players rank in the top three in Conference USA in key individual statistical categories. Junior forward Jordyn Jenkins is third in scoring (17.8) and third in field goal percentage (47.2). Junior guard Kyra White is second in assists (4.0). Sophomore center Elyssa Coleman is second in blocks (1.7). Jenkins scored a season-high 25 points against St. John’s on Nov. 26 …

Coach Karen Aston said she hopes to know “in a couple of weeks” whether 6-foot-4 center Nissa Sam-Grant will be able to play this season. Sam-Grant, a transfer from Panola College, is academically ineligible. Aston declined to speculate on what will happen with an appeal to the NCAA. Despite the uncertainty, Sam-Grant has improved by continuing to practice hard, the coach said.