By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay
After an 0-2 start in the American Athletic Conference, players on the UTSA women’s basketball squad felt the harsh sting of disappointment.
First, they dropped a 71-58 decision at Temple last Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia in the first AAC game in program history.
Next, they journeyed to Greenville, N.C., and were humbled again, falling 82-54 to the East Carolina Pirates.
Even though the Pirates won the AAC postseason title last season and were a preseason pick to finish second in the conference this year, the Roadrunners were downcast.
A proud group of athletes, they wanted and expected to be better, and they just weren’t.
“For me, I definitely thought about it throughout the night and the next day,” UTSA sophomore Madison Cockrell said. “I know for my teammates, it was the same thing. But we can’t dwell on the past. We can only learn from our mistakes and move forward and get ready for our next game.”
The Roadrunners will get that opportunity on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the Wichita State Shockers.
Tipoff between UTSA (6-7, 0-2) and Wichita State (5-9, 1-1) is set for 2 p.m. at the Convocation Center.
Cockrell said she feels good about the team’s preparation the past few days.
“I think our last few practices, we have been executing and working on practicing how we’re going to play in the game,” she said. “We took our first two conference losses to heart, and we are starting to change things.”
At that, she smiled, and nodded her head in the affirmative.
“(We’re) going hard every day in practices,” she said. “Playing hard. Paying attention to details. Studying the scout. Getting ready for Saturday.”
When the game in Greenville got away from the Roadrunners Tuesday afternoon, UTSA coaches elected to play some players who haven’t seen much time this season.
Cockrell, who notched a season high of 17 minutes and produced career highs of 13 points and three steals, caught the attention of the UTSA coaches.
So did freshman guard Emma Lucio, who notched a season high of 21 minutes. Lucio, from Edinburg, finished with three points, three rebounds and two assists.
“Opportunity is what you do with it,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said Friday morning, “and I thought those two kids did something with their opportunity the other night, and they’re going to get rewarded with more playing time tomorrow.”
Following Friday’s practice, a few other personnel questions loomed.
First, will Aysia Proctor be able to play against the Shockers? Well, maybe.
Asked Friday morning about Proctor’s status for Wichita State, Aston was non-committal, offering only that, “she’ll be fine.” By Friday afternoon, a positive sign on Proctor emerged at practice when the freshman from Clemens took part in five-on-five drills.
The second question is one that has been percolating for months now. It involves standout forward Jordyn Jenkins, who hasn’t played at all this season.
Jenkins went through light shooting drills both on her own and briefly with the team Friday afternoon. At the same time, Jenkins, who won Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 2022-23, did not take part in any of the team’s five-on-five contact work.
She is rehabilitating an injured knee.
The UTSA men are also looking for their first AAC victory. The Roadrunners will try to get it Saturday afternoon in Houston against the Rice Owls. The Roadrunners (6-8, 0-1) and the Owls (6-8, 0-1) are set to play at the University of St. Thomas, with tipoff set for 2 p.m. The game was moved off the Rice campus because of water damage at Tudor Fieldhouse. Injured UTSA guard Adante’ Holiman isn’t expected to play. Holiman turned his ankle in the second half of Tuesday night’s 78-76 loss to the UAB Blazers in San Antonio.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the score of UTSA’s Tuesday night game in Greenville, N.C. The score has been changed in the story to reflect East Carolina’s 82-54 victory over UTSA in women’s college basketball.