UTSA women aim for an NCAA tournament run after a record-breaking season

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA women’s basketball program hopes to hang a new banner in the Convocation Center before the start of the coming season.

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

Coach Karen Aston is entering her fourth season at UTSA with hopes of leading the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“I’m hoping they put that up at an appropriate time,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said Monday. “I don’t know what the protocol is. I haven’t asked that question. But clearly, there’ll be one up there. No question about it. That’s a good thing. A step in the right direction.”

The banner will commemorate the team’s performance last spring, when coaches and players made program history with only the third trip to a national tournament in more than 40 years.

UTSA produced an 18-15 record in 2023-24 en route to reaching the second round of the Women’s NIT. A memorable moment came at home on March 21 when the Roadrunners claimed their first-ever national tournament victory with an 80-62 win over Northern Colorado.

Their season came to an end on March 28 with an 80-64 road loss at Wyoming.

With summer conditioning in progress, the idea that the athletic department is planning a function to hail the team’s achievement will be a point of pride for returning players, but also will serve as a reminder that they aren’t finished making history.

“No question we’re setting goals,” Aston said. “It’s the same goal every year. We want to go to the NCAA tournament. Period.”

UTSA roster

Siena Guttadauro, 5-6 guard, junior from San Jose, Calif.
Alexis Parker, 5-9 guard, junior from San Antonio (Brandeis High School)
Emma Lucio, 5-9 guard, sophomore from Edinburg (Vela High School)
Damara Allen, 5-10 guard, freshman from Aurora, Colo.
Mia Hammonds, 6-3 guard, freshman from Cibolo (Steele High School)
Nyayongah Gony, 6-4 forward, redshirt senior from Lincoln, Neb., transfer from Mississippi State, also formerly of the University of Miami
Nina De Leon Negron, 5-6 guard, graduate senior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word, also formerly of Austin Peay
Sidney Love, 5-8 guard, junior from Cibolo (Steele High School)
Aysia Proctor, 5-8 guard, sophomore from Schertz (Clemens High School)
Taylor Ross, 6-1 forward, freshman from San Antonio (Brennan High School)
Maya Linton, 5-11 forward, junior from Duncanville
Cheyenne Rowe, 6-2 forward, junior from Ajax, Ontario, Canada; played for UTSA last season as a transfer from James Madison
Idara Udo, 6-1 center-forward, sophomore from Plano
Jordyn Jenkins, 6-0 forward, redshirt senior from Kent, Wash., played the past two seasons at UTSA, transfer from Southern Cal
Emilia Dannebauer, 6-4 forward-center, freshman from Berlin, Germany


Center Elyssa Coleman (medical retirement) and guard Kyra White won’t be back this year.

They leave big shoes to fill as Coleman averaged 10.4 points and led the team in rebounding and blocked shots, while White — a do-it-all senior — started all 33 games and led UTSA in minutes (averaging 34) and assists (160 total). She also ranked among team leaders in rebounds and steals.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins is healthy and working on returning to peak physical conditioning after sitting out all but the last dozen games last season in knee rehabilitation. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Scoring leaders among returning players include Jordyn Jenkins (17.1), Aysia Proctor (9.7), Sidney Love (9.6) and Idara Udo (7.4).

Others returners include Siena Guttadauro, Maya Linton, Cheyenne Rowe, Alexis Parker and Emma Lucio. Aston said Guttadauro continues to make significant strides in her development following a strong finish to last season.

The coach said she is looking for Udo to expand her skillset to boost the frontcourt following Coleman’s retirement. She said the sophomore from Plano is working on finishing around the rim with her left hand and is already looking better with her jump shot.

By losing Coleman “we lost experience,” Aston said, “of someone who would have been a four-year starter. You know, you can’t really replace that immediately, but I think we have enough bodies now that, on a given night, we’re going to probably be able to find somebody who’s going to do the work.”

In another development, Aston said she is looking at moving Love from point guard to shooting guard. Love, Guttadauro and newcomer Nina De Leon Negron are all working as combo guards, shifting between ball-handling and off-the-ball duties.

De Leon Negron, a transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word, might be a candidate to make the most immediate impact among newcomers.

Center Emilia Dannebauer, a 6-4 freshman from Germany, is the only player of the 15 on scholarship who is not on campus at the moment.

She is expected to report in August after working out overseas this summer in an attempt to make the German Under-20 national team.

Aston is watching closely the development of freshmen guards Mia Hammonds and Damara Allen and forward Taylor Ross. She said Hammonds has had an injury this summer and has been limited.

Both Hammonds (from Steele) and Ross (from Brennan) were considered two of the best high school players in the San Antonio area last season.

“I think the freshman class is ahead of the curve,” the coach said. “They have come in with a really good mindset. They’re coachable, teachable, all of that. Taylor Ross is maybe the sleeper of the class.”

Despite the injury to Hammonds, Aston said she has potential “to fit right in” with the Roadrunners with her athleticism. However, she may need some time to get accustomed to the physicality of the college game.

Siena Guttadauro. UTSA lost to Western Kentucky 73-67 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Siena Guttadauro has shown marked improvement and may command an expanded role leading into her junior year. The native Californian hit a couple of three pointers in the fourth quarter of an AAC tournament victory over the South Florida Bulls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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