By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay
Fast-improving forward Jordyn Jenkins scored 12 of her season-high 29 points in the fourth quarter Sunday as the UTSA Roadrunners defeated another first-place team in the American Athletic Conference women’s basketball race, downing the North Texas Mean Green 66-63 at the Super Pit in Denton.
With the victory, UTSA (13-11, 7-6) split a two-game AAC road trip and swept a two-game, regular-season series against North Texas (19-6, 9-4).
UTSA, aided by 16 points from freshman guard Aysia Proctor and nine points and nine rebounds from junior center Elyssa Coleman, also improved to 4-0 on the season against first-place AAC teams. The Roadrunners are 3-0 at home and 1-0 on the road against squads leading in the standings.
The Mean Green were in first place both times they played the Roadrunners and were turned away twice in close games. On Jan. 31, UTSA won in its on-campus arena, downing North Texas 75-67 in overtime.
In that game, Jenkins had not yet been cleared to play. She sat out the first 21 games this season while rehabilitating a knee injury. Since her return, the Roadrunners have won two out of three, claiming the two victories against AAC contenders Alabama-Birmingham and now North Texas.
UTSA’s road win against its in-state rivals, at the Super Pit in Denton, may have been the team’s best of the season. The Mean Green had been 10-0 at home this season. They were also 5-0 in AAC games at home — until Jenkins, a high-scoring forward from Kent, Wash., showed up to play.
Jenkins hit 11 of 17 shots from the floor, including three of five from three-point distance. In the fourth period, she was at her best, hitting four for four from the floor and knocking down her only three-point attempt.
On one of her shots, she had the ball on the right side of the floor, about eight feet from the basket, when she turned and flipped in a left-handed scoop shot. The bucket gave UTSA a three-point lead with 40 seconds remaining.
Coming out of a time out, North Texas guard Dyani Robinson hit a shot to cut the UTSA lead to one. On the other end, Jenkins was fouled and sank two free throws with 27 seconds left for the game’s final points.
North Texas called time with 20 seconds left needing a three to tie. The Mean Green failed to get off a clean shot, as Shamaryah Duncan’s three from the right wing was deflected by UTSA’s Kyra White, clinching the victory for the Roadrunners.
Six-foot forward DesiRay Kernal paced North Texas with 16 points and 12 rebounds. As UNT’s top offensive threat, she wasn’t as effective as she has been, making five of 12 from the field. Another Mean Green threat, center Tommisha Lampkin, was hindered by foul trouble and played only 20 minutes. She finished with six points and six rebounds.
In the second and third quarters, the Mean Green started to play better team basketball. They hit six of 11 from the field and eight of nine at the free throw line in the second, outscoring the Roadrunners 21-16 in the period and taking a 34-30 lead at the intermission. After halftime, they came out energized and once again got the better of the visitors, opening the advantage to 52-46.
North Texas guard Jaauckland Moore made a three with three seconds remaining in the third, lifting the Eagles into their six-point lead.
UTSA 13-11, 7-6
North Texas 19-6, 9-4
Temple at UTSA, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
After missing so much of the season, Jenkins is fast improving her conditioning. In her first two games, she played 11 minutes against UAB and 14 in a Wednesday-night loss at Tulsa. Against both UAB and Tulsa, she scored 11 in each game. Combined in those two games, she hit seven of 25 shots from the field. Jenkins followed with 24 minutes against North Texas and finished 11 of 17 from the floor. Her 29-point performance left the Mean Green faithful with long memories dismayed, as she scored 40 in the Super Pit last February in UTSA’s 68-67 overtime victory. The two games were played nearly one calendar year apart — from Feb. 20, 2023 to Feb. 18, 2024.