WOMEN'S COLLEGE HOOPS: UTSA holds off ACU, 63-58
Abilene Christian's women's basketball team struggled to stay out of foul trouble out of during the closing minutes of Saturday afternoon's game at the Convocation Center, which helped lead to a game-ending 13-8 run for Texas-San Antonio that resulted in its 63-58 victory.
The Roadrunners (9-4) scored nine of its final 13 points from the free-throw line after the final media timeout, when the score was tied at 50-50 - and finished 24-38 for the game from the charity stripe in snapping ACU's (9-6) two-game road winning streak.
UTSA's victory was its seventh straight as it received 17 points from Kamra King and eight points from three others.
After a pair of Suzzy Dimba free throws with 3:42 remaining tied the score a final time at 50-50, UTSA sealed the win with eight-straight points, which included buckets from Akunna Elonu, Mannasha Bell and King. West then buried a trey that made it 58-53, but UTSA held its advantage by hitting five free throws over the last 30 seconds.
Sophomore Whitney West, who hit all three of her 3-pointers in the second half - including a pair in the final minute - led all scorers with 18 points. Senior Renata Marquez had an excellent first half with 13 points and six rebounds, but missed most of the second half in foul trouble. The Conroe, Texas, native finished with 17 points.
Overall, ACU shot better than the Roadrunners 46.7 percent (21-45) to 37.3 (19-51), but could not overcome the 26 personal fouls called and 26 turnovers in addition to 9-of-16 shooting from the foul line. UTSA won the rebounding war by +1.0, but pulled down 14 of the offensive glass, while ACU had only seven. Lizzy Dimba led all Wildcat rebounders with seven.
UTSA started the game 0-6 from field but quickly found its offensive groove and went on a seven-minute 14-3 run that countered a pair of treys Marquez buried in the opening momements.
Marquez hit her third 3-pointer at the 8:37 mark to give her team the lead once more (17-16) and later put back a missed layup by Lizzy Dimba with 7:12 remaining.
The Wildcats pushed their lead out to six points at 23-17 with consecutive baskets from Mason and Marquez, but the Roadrunners responded with buckets by Turner and King going into the 4:00-media timeout that once again made it a one-posession game.
After exchanging pair of baskets, UTSA tied the game at 25-25 with 50 seconds to play on a pair of free throws by Mitchell-Cole, and then took a 27-25 lead into the locker room after Turner sank two more freebies.
ACU was charged with 13 personal fouls in the first half (two for each of the five starters), resulting in 15 free throw attempts by the Roadrunners. The home team made eight of them for a 53.3 success rate.
By comparison, ACU went 2-of-5 from the free throw line which included Marquez and West missing the front end of two one-and-ones during the final minute. West also missed a driving floater at the buzzer after getting the ball back with four seconds left.
UTSA produced two big runs during the opening stages of the second half. The Roadrunners first was an 8-2 run during the first three minutes that gave them a 35-27 lead, and after the Wildcats got within a point on Marquez layup (37-36), the home team went on a 7-2 run that made the score, 44-38, at the 8:00-media timeout.
The Wildcats got their offense rolling again shortly afterward as four-straight points from Suzzy Dimba cut the Roadrunners' lead to 45-43. Moments later, Alexis Mason hit a layup followed by a 3-pointer that gave ACU a short-lived 48-47 lead as King hit one of two free throws on USTA's next possession.
The Wildcats return to action and make their Southland Conference debut at New Orleans on Thursday, Jan. 9. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.