Making history: UTSA women down Northern Colorado 80-62 in the WNIT first round

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins produced 27 points and seven rebounds as the UTSA Roadrunners routed the Northern Colorado Bears 80-62 in the first round of the Postseason WNIT. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA reached another milestone Thursday night during its best season of women’s basketball in 15 years. The Roadrunners hosted a postseason game in a national tournament and won it, both firsts program history.

With Jordyn Jenkins leading the way with 27 points, the Roadrunners took control against the Northern Colorado Bears in the second quarter and then finished them off in the fourth, claiming an 80-62 victory in the first round of the Postseason WNIT.

Karen Aston. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Karen Aston’s Roadrunners shot 47 percent from the field and scored 80 points in a game for the first time since Jan. 14 when they beat Charlotte 81-80 in double overtime. – Photo by Joe Alexander

A rowdy crowd at the Convocation Center (announced at 873) thoroughly enjoyed it at the end as the Roadrunners started to pull away into double-digit leads. With the win, UTSA improved to 18-14 and advanced to the second round against the Wyoming Cowgirls.

UTSA is scheduled to play on the road at Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference on Sunday at 2 p.m. Northern Colorado of the Big Sky finished its season at 15-16. Hannah Simental led the Bears with 18 points.

In the postgame press conference, UTSA coach Karen Aston said the team’s first postseason win (outside of a conference tournament) feels “amazing.”

“We talked about this before the game,” the coach said. “I didn’t even realize it until yesterday. They mentioned that we had never won a postseason game. So, just a little bit of motivation to give the girls.”

In 43 years of UTSA women’s basketball, the team had played in a national tournament only twice before, once in 2008 against Texas A&M (at Baton Rouge, La.) and once in 2009 against Baylor (at Lubbock).

The Roadrunners lost each game in the NCAA tournament’s round of 64.

This season, in Aston’s third year at the helm of the program, the Roadrunners fell short of the NCAA tourney, but they overcame adversity to secure a winning record for the first time since 2015.

Kyra White. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Senior guard Kyra White produced 10 points, nine assists and four rebounds.- Photo by Joe Alexander

Their 18 victories also represent a milestone, of sorts, as they are the most in a season for the Roadrunners since they won 24 in 2009.

Now, after experiencing heartache at the American Athletic Conference tournament, where they lost in the semifinals to bow out of NCAA contention, they have discovered in the WNIT a new path to travel on their road to respectability as a program.

Only three years ago, the Roadrunners won only two games. Two years ago, in Aston’s first season in San Antonio, they won seven. Then, last year, they boosted the victory total to 13 and made a run to the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.

A year later, as a member of the American, they lost in the semis again but won enough games to earn an invitation to the 48-team WNIT, a second-tier tournament behind the 68-team NCAA and the 32-team WBIT.

“That’s really what we’ve been talking about all this time, is to try to set a new standard and do things that maybe haven’t been done before,” Aston said. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Jenkins started for the first time this season in only her 11th game back following a 10-month rehabilitation from knee surgery. She responded by hitting 11 of 16 shots from the field. Jenkins also augmented her prolific scoring with seven rebounds.

“Just finding gaps in the zone,” Jenkins said, “(and) getting easy buckets.”

Aysia Proctor. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Aysia Proctor supplied energy off the bench and 13 points on fve of six shooting. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In addition, UTSA enjoyed solid performances among several others, an element that had been missing at times during the crunch of conference play in February and March.

Freshman Aysia Proctor, an energizer, came off the bench to score 13 points. Senior point guard Kyra White had 10 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

Sophomore guard Sidney Love, who became extremely aggressive on offense in the second half, had 10 points and five assists. Senior Hailey Atwood scored nine on four of six shooting from the field in only 16 minutes.

White, who played in high school in the San Antonio area at Judson, said it feels great to win in the postseason.

“Just super grateful and blessed that we have this opportunity to play in front of the home crowd,” White said. “I’m just glad we were able to go out there and get it done.”


Northern Colorado 15-16
UTSA 18-14

Coming up

WNIT second round: UTSA at Wyoming (16-14), Sunday, 2 p.m. (Central).


A moment of levity emerged late in the third quarter when the Roadrunners made a stop on the defensive end and threw a long pass that sailed high over Jenkins’ head and out of bounds. As Jenkins was running, she wasn’t looking at the passer and didn’t see the pass or the ball as it was flying high overhead. The crowd apparently tried to let her know it was coming, shouting as it was in the air. Jenkins could only smile when the ball bounced out of bounds.

Sidney Love. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore guard Sidney Love scored six of her 10 points in the second quarter when the Roadrunners rallied into the lead. – Photo by Joe Alexander


Jenkins grinned at the question in the postgame interviews and acknowledged that, yes, she was having a good time all night.

“We haven’t played in awhile,” she said. “It feels like a new season, and I’ve never had a postseason in my career. So, just the fact that it’s a new game and we’ve had a lot of days off.

“It was just funny because the crowd, honestly, like, (they) helped me out. Because I wouldn’t have known. I knew they were screaming. So, then I was like, ‘Ok, it’s somewhere up here.’ But, yeah, it was fun.”

First half

Moving without the ball and posting up aggressively, Jenkins scored eight points in the first quarter and seven in the second as the Roadrunners rallied for a 40-35 lead at intermission.

Initially, they struggled. They trailed most of the first quarter and fell behind by nine with a minute left. Trailing 23-19 entering the game’s second 10-minute segment, the Roadrunners started to click.

Hailey Atwood. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Hailey Atwood started and played 16 minutes, during which she scored nine points on four of six shooting. – Photo by Joe Alexander

They hit four 3-pointers in a rally that saw them come from behind and seize the momentum. A Jenkins triple gave them the lead at 28-26 with 6:45 remaining.

Love also figured prominently in the outburst, hitting two from beyond the arc in the last few minutes.

For the Bears, Simental enjoyed a productive half with 13 points. She knocked down four of eight from the field and three of three from distance.

With 1:52 remaining in the first quarter, the Bears held their largest lead of the game at 22-13 when Lilah Moore hit a pair of free throws.

Four straight points by Jenkins and a field goal by Cheyenne Rowe allowed the Roadrunners to get back into contention.

Third quarter

The Roadrunners continued to click in the moments after halftime. Elyssa Coleman nailed a three from the top of the circle on the first play of the third period. Jenkins followed with seven straight points in less than two minutes.

UTSA led 49-42 with 6:53 left.

For the Roadrunners, a positive sign emerged when Jenkins went to the bench for a rest. In her absence, UTSA perimeter players started to come alive.

First, Atwood took it to the basket for a two-pointer. Kyra White scored inside on a drive, and then Proctor nailed a three from the top. White followed with another bucket on a drive.

The Roadrunners, in an important stretch, were keeping pace with the Bears with their best player on the bench resting. When Jenkins returned, she scored, giving UTSA a seven-point lead. Aniah Hall finished the quarter with a bucket for the Bears.

UTSA led 60-55 going to the fourth.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins sank 11 of 16 shots from the field and even hit two of three from 3-point distance in scoring 27 points, two off her season high. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA women reach for ‘re-set’ in the Postseason WNIT

Elyssa Coleman. UTSA beat Rice 60-52 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Tuesday, March 5, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Elyssa Coleman and the UTSA Roadrunners will host the Northern Colorado Bears tonight in the first round of the Postseason WNIT. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA women’s basketball players will try to hit the re-set button on their emotions Thursday night when they host the Northern Colorado Bears in the first round of the Postseason WNIT.

Last week, the Roadrunners had their hearts broken when they lost in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament in Fort Worth.

After giving up an 11-point lead and losing by one to the East Carolina Pirates, their dreams of a trip to the NCAA tournament were crushed.

UTSA coach Karen Aston acknowledged Wednesday that her players still may be experiencing the disappointment of the near miss in Fort Worth.

In that regard, she suggested that they might need to “re-set” emotionally before tipoff against Northern Colorado.

“I think they’re excited about the opportunity to play in the postseason but also trying to figure how to get over a disappointing loss, and maybe a missed opportunity,” Aston said. “So, it’s been a bit of a process to be happy and excited — and proud — about what they’ve done and what kind of year they’ve had.”

The Roadrunners already have achieved a milestone in clinching their first winning season since 2015. They’ve already made their mark with the first national postseason appearance since 2009, when they reached the NCAA tournament.

Now, if they can beat the Bears of the Big Sky conference, they can notch the first national postseason victory in the 43-year history of the program.

“You know,” Aston said, “that’s a good thing in a lot of ways, (that) they weren’t OK with what happened (last week). I appreciate that about them, so, to answer your question, (we just need) to get our competitive juices going again and get back to being who we can be.”

On Monday afternoon, Aston stopped practice at one juncture and let the players have it verbally. In so many words, she said she was troubled by the lack of focus and that she didn’t feel like they were giving their best effort.

The players apparently have responded. Aston said the workouts have been better and better as the week progressed.

“Today was a good day,” the coach said. “I feel good about us being ready to play tomorrow.”

UTSA center Elyssa Coleman said her teammates are thankful and excited to get to play again, and they hope to push past whatever feelings they may have had about last week.

She said it was “weird” because in years past players knew that a loss in the conference tournament definitely meant that the season was over.

“So, once we lost … knowing that we could, maybe, be picked for postseason, it was kind of like, you go through heartbreak,” she said. “But then you may or may not have any games after that, especially for our seniors, it was just really weird and uneasy.

“Thankfully, we got this opportunity.”

Coming up

Postseason WNIT, first round, Northern Colorado at UTSA, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Winner plays Wyoming in the second round, site and date TBA


Northern Colorado 15-15, 10-8, tied for fourth, Big Sky Conference
UTSA 17-14, 10-8, tied for fourth, American Athletic Conference

Key players

UTSA averages, points/rebounds and other — Forward Jordyn Jenkins (15.1 / 7.3); Elyssa Coleman (10.9 / 7.7, 1.5 blocks); Kyra White (10.2 / 5.1, 4.7 assists); Aysia Proctor (10 / 4.9); Sidney Love (9.5 / 3.6, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals), Idara Udo (7.9 / 6.2).

Northern Colorado averages, points/rebounds and other — Forward Delaynie Byrne (13.6 / 8.0); guard Hannah Simental (12.4 / 3.6, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals); forward Aniah Hall (10.0 / 5.7) guard Seneca Hackley (9.0 / 3.0, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals); Tatum West (7.8 / 4.6).


UTSA — Karen Aston took a program that was 2-18 the year before her arrival and built steadily, going 7-23, 13-19 and 17-14. Under Aston, who made a name for herself as a head coach at the University of Texas, the Roadrunners have reached a national postseason event for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The winning record is UTSA’s first since 2014-15. The 17 wins is the most since the ’08-’09 team, an NCAA tournament entry, finished 24-9.

Northern Colorado — Kristen Mattio has strung together records of 15-16, 13-18 and 15-15 in three seasons at Northern Colorado, which is based in Greeley. In her first season, her team went 9-11 in the Big Sky and reached the tournament semifinals. Last year, she went 5-13 and bowed out in the quarters. This year’s 10-8 record in conference was her team’s best, but the Bears lost again in the quarters, falling 47-44 in overtime to Montana State.