Conference USA scoring leader Jordyn Jenkins warming up for the UTSA Roadrunners, who will take on the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers tonight at the Convocation Center. https://t.co/hyCDEtJ4sq pic.twitter.com/hI6Rr6GnBd
— Jerry Briggs (@JerryBriggs) February 3, 2023
By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay
The UTSA women’s basketball team cleared one hurdle last weekend with a Conference USA road victory at Louisiana Tech. Two more major challenges await the Roadrunners at home in the coming days.
UTSA is scheduled to host the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers tonight and the 21st-ranked Middle Tennessee State Lady Raiders on Saturday afternoon.
Mired in 10th place in the 11-team C-USA, the Roadrunners (5-15, 3-8) have struggled with consistency.
Nevertheless, a team that has played more than a few freshmen in a rebuilding year has shown signs of turning the corner.
The win at Ruston last weekend was UTSA’s first outside of San Antonio this season.
UTSA junior forward Jordyn Jenkins leads the C-USA in both scoring (20.0) and field goal percentage (48.3). She’s also second in rebounding (7.5) and sixth in blocked shots (1.3).
The Roadrunners seem to be at their best when the ball moves and Jenkins’ teammates are involved in the offense, both of which happened in Ruston against LA Tech.
With Jenkins, Elyssa Coleman and Sidney Love all scoring in double figures, the Roadrunners shot a season-high 50.9 percent from the field. Of their 29 field goals, 18 came on assists, with guard Kyra White passing for seven and Jenkins four.
If they hope to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, they’ll likely need a similarly solid effort tonight.
Western Kentucky at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Middle Tennessee State at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
The Lady Tops (11-9, 8-3) will arrive in San Antonio in second place in the conference, having won two straight and seven of their last eight. Their streak started at home on Jan. 7 when they rallied for a 77-69 victory over UTSA. Against the Roadrunners, freshman guard Acacia Hayes scored 31 points. She hit 10 of 11 shots from the field.
Last week, they won two close games at home, downing the FIU Panthers 67-63 and the FAU Owls, 66-65. Hayes (10.5 points per game) is a guard that likes to slash and get fouled. Jaylin Foster (9.9, 5.9 rebounds), Hope Sivori (8.6) and Mya Meredith (8.2) are also scoring threats. Western Kentucky leads the conference in both 3-point attempts (567) and 3-point makes (161).
Middle Tennessee State
The Lady Raiders (18-2, 11-0) lead the C-USA standings and have won 16 in a row going into a Thursday night matchup in El Paso against the UTEP Miners. Virginia Commonwealth transfer Kseniya Malashka, a forward, leads the Raiders in both scoring (16.5) and field goal percentage (47.3). Marshall transfer Savannah Wheeler, a guard, averages 16.2 points. Center Anastasiia Boldyreva is a force in the paint with 1.5 blocks.
Middle Tennessee hasn’t lost since Nov. 25 in Las Vegas, to Texas Tech. In their string of 16 victories, 13 have been by double figures, including an 80-41 rout of the Roadrunners on Jan. 5. Boldyreva had 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocks against UTSA. Boldyreva is from Moscow, Russia. Malashka is from Minsk, in Belarus.