By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay
UTSA coach Karen Aston opened her postgame news conference five nights ago with a wry smile and a joke.
“My first thought is, we just need to play at home, and just skip going on the road,” Aston said. “(Playing at home) makes a huge difference for our team, for some reason.”
Her point was clear.
For the most part, the Roadrunners have been a much better team at home this season than they have been on the road.
But her message also carried another, more subtle, message. Ever the competitor, Aston has grown weary of losing on the road.
Her players heeded the message Monday night in Denton, downing the North Texas Mean Green 68-67 in overtime and handing the coach a milestone 300th career victory.
Responding to social media posts about a career 40-point, 11-rebound performance from junior forward Jordyn Jenkins, Aston applauded the effort with a post on her Twitter feed.
“Front row seat for this one,” she said simply.
Aston had to like another aspect of her team’s showing in Denton, as well.
The Roadrunners put on a rebounding clinic, winning the boards, 46-28, as the coach improved to 300-187 in her career.
Jenkins had her ninth double-figure rebound game of the season, while center Elyssa Coleman snared eight boards and guard Kyra White seven.
With the victory, the resurgent UTSA women completed a three-games-in-five-days stretch with a 2-1 record. They also improved to 4-3 over their last seven games, including a 2-2 record on the road.
In the fourth quarter, the Roadrunners led the Mean Green by nine points with eight minutes remaining, only to see the home team rally to tie and force overtime. Guard Quincy Noble scored eight points in the quarter for North Texas.
UTSA had a chance to win but couldn’t get off a shot on its last possession in the final seconds.
As the game transitioned to overtime, UTSA responded. Jenkins scored eight points, six of them on three buckets going toward the basket and two on free throws with five seconds left that boosted the Roadrunners into a four-point lead.
Jordyn Carter hit a three for North Texas for the final points. The Mean Green were led in the game by Noble, who scored 27 points. Tommisha Lampkin had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Jenkins, a first-year player for the Roadrunners, has stacked multiple eye-opening performances in her first season in Conference USA after playing two years in the Pac-12 for the USC Trojans.
With her 40 points, she was one off Tesha Smith’s school record set six years ago. She did it by hitting 12 of 20 from the field and three of five on 3-point attempts. At the free throw line, she was 13 of 16.
Jenkins, from Kent, Wash., also has scored in the 30s twice and in the 20s eleven times. She has nine double doubles, with double-figure points and rebounds.
Top three scoring games at UTSA
40 on the road at North Texas on Feb. 20, 2023. UTSA won 68-67 in overtime.
37 at home vs. UTEP on Jan. 11, 2023. UTEP won 74-67.
35 on the road at Houston on Dec. 19, 2022. Houston won 93-89 in overtime.
UTSA single-game record
41 points by Tesha Smith vs. Florida Atlantic, Feb. 25, 2017.
Coach Aston’s milestone
In defeating North Texas, a program that she once coached, UTSA coach Karen Aston improved to 300-187 in 15 years, good for a winning percentage of .616. Aston has worked previously at Charlotte, North Texas and Texas.
UTSA: 8-18, 6-11
North Texas: 10-17, 7-10
Aston is in her second season at UTSA, improving ever-so-gradually a program that finished 7-23 and 3-14 in the C-USA in 2021-22, her first year at the school. UTSA hasn’t won as many as eight games overall and six games in conference in five years. In 2017-18, UTSA finished 9-21 and 6-10.
Florida Atlantic at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Florida International at UTSA, Saturday, noon.
UTSA at Charlotte, March 2, 5 p.m.
End of regular season
Conference USA tournament
March 8-11 at Frisco