By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay
Temira Poindexter and Mady Cartwright sparked a huge fourth-quarter rally Wednesday night as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, playing at home, stormed from behind to edge the upset-minded UTSA Roadrunners, 74-70.
In an American Athletic Conference women’s basketball thriller, the Roadrunners fell behind by nine points in the first half, but then started to play well and steadily built what evolved in a 13-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the game.
At that point, the Golden Hurricane heated up and turned the game around with a 20-3 run over the next six and a half minutes. When Poindexter hit two free throws with 29 seconds left, the Golden Hurricane’s lead ticked up to four points at 73-69.
On the other end, UTSA’s Madison Cockrell missed a three with 16 seconds left. The rebound went to forward Idara Udo, who was fouled, and she hit one free throw to make it a three-point game.
On her one miss, Kyra White grabbed the offensive rebound to give the Roadrunners hope, but she also missed a three with 13 seconds remaining. For Tulsa, Katia Gallegos responded by driving, drawing a foul and knocking down one free throw with seven seconds left for the final point.
With the win, Tulsa (18-7 overall, 8-4 in the American) registered a possible momentum-turning victory after losing two of its last three. UTSA (12-11, 6-6) came into the game feeling good, winning at home Sunday and knocking the UAB Blazers out of first place.
Now the Roadrunners face a Sunday afternoon road game against the AAC heavyweight North Texas Mean Green. UTSA coach Karen Aston said on the postgame radio show that her team let one get away against Tulsa.
“We didn’t manage the clock very well,” she said. “We started shooting too quick … just didn’t have an understanding that we have four and a half minutes left. We needed to move the ball and make them play a little bit longer. Youth played a part in that, but credit to Tulsa. They did what they had to do to win.”
The story of the game was the fourth-quarter rally by the Golden Hurricane. During the 20-3 run, Poindexter, a 6-foot-1 junior from Sapulpa, Okla., took over. She scored eight points in the stretch. Cartwright also contributed during the run with six points.
For the game, Poindexter led the Golden Hurricane with 20 points. Guard Delanie Crawford added 15 and Cartwright had 13. Together the threesome knocked down seven of Tulsa’s nine three-point baskets. Tulsa shot 50 percent from the field for the game, including 55 percent in the fourth period.
UTSA’s backcourt of Sidney Love and Kyra White led the Roadrunners in scoring. Love totaled 16 points and White had 15. Forwards Jordyn Jenkins and Idara Udo had 11 points apiece. Jenkins, in her second game back after sitting out most of the season, also had seven rebounds. Freshman guard Aysia Proctor scored 10.
Generally, UTSA played well on the road on the home floor of one of the better teams in the conference. From midway through the second quarter to midway through the fourth, the Roadrunners went on an extended roll, outscoring the Golden Hurricane 40-18.
UTSA 12-11, 6-6
Tulsa 18-7, 8-4
UTSA at North Texas, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Tulsa’s Caranda Perea hit a long jumper and a three-pointer in the last minute of the first quarter. Capping a hectic period, UTSA’s Kyra White followed a missed shot with a three of her own. Tulsa emerged with a 22-19 lead going into the second,
Playing fast and running the break, the Golden Hurricane pushed out to a couple of nine-point leads before the Roadrunners rallied at the end. Sidney Love missed a jumper in the final seconds as UTSA went into the dressing room down by only four at 38-34.
Guard Delanie Crawford sparked Tulsa in the half with a team-high 12 points and seven rebounds and three assists. Temira Poindexter had eight points on three of six shooting.
For UTSA, freshman Idara Udo had eight points and four boards. Also, Sidney Love had seven points and Jordyn Jenkins, in her second game back after sitting out the first 21 in knee rehabilitation, scored six.
UTSA stepped up the defensive pressure and started forcing turnovers. Meanwhile, Sidney Love and Kyra White started to turn it on offensively. The Roadrunners outscored the Golden Hurricane 21-13 in the period.
A highlight came late when Maya Linton got a steal on one end. On the other, Kyra White dribbled down court on the break, made a Euro-step move at the bucket and twisted in a layup. The Roadrunners will take a 55-51 lead into the fourth quarter.