UTSA to host South Florida, a traditional power in AAC women’s basketball

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Riding a three-game winning streak, the upstart UTSA women’s basketball team will play host to one of the traditional powers in the American Athletic Conference tonight.

Veteran coach Jose Fernandez and the South Florida Bulls (11-7, 3-2) will take on the Roadrunners (9-7, 3-2) at 6:30 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Fernandez has led the Bulls as coach since November of 2000. In 23 plus seasons, he has guided the program to a 454-299 record and nine NCAA tournaments, including eight in the past 11 years.

Last season, the Bulls won the AAC’s regular-season title with only one loss in the regular season.

In spite of a first-round loss in the AAC tournament, they received an NCAA bid and won a game in the first round against Marquette. In the round of 32, they lost by 31 points to top-seeded South Carolina and finished 27-7.

UTSA, meanwhile, has had only modest and sporadic success since the inception of the program in 1981-82.

Though the Roadrunners reached NCAA tournaments in 2008 and 2009, they’ve struggled since 2015 with eight straight losing records.

UTSA, in its third season under Coach Karen Aston, has shown marked improvement of late. The Roadrunners have surged to an 18-11 record since late January of last season.

Included in the stretch of success is a 9-4 finish to the 2022-23 season, in which they won twice in the postseason and reached the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.

This year, they’ve overcome the loss of injured star Jordyn Jenkins to win three games in a row in the AAC.

The Roadrunners capped the streak with a dramatic, double-overtime win at home over the Charlotte 49ers on Sunday.

In that game, freshman forward Idara Udo hit the game-winning shot on a putback with 1.8 seconds remaining.


South Florida 11-7, 3-2
UTSA 9-7, 3-2

Coming up

UTSA at UAB, Sunday, 1 p.m.


Like UTSA, South Florida is also playing without an injured star player. It was announced on Dec. 14 that guard Sammie Puisis would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Last season, Puisis was the AAC’s Newcomer of the Year and second-team all-conference after averaging 15.5 points per game.

Freshman guard Vittoria Blasigh is playing well for USF. She earned her fourth AAC Freshman of the Week honor this week. She is coming off a 35-point performance against Tulsa, followed by a 26-point outing against Rice on Sunday.

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