Game 9: Gophers Host UTSA (11-28-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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ROADRUNNERS HIT THE ROAD

Venturing out of the state of Texas for the first time this season, the University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners travel to Minneapolis to face Minnesota (5-3). The players we don’t know; the coach we know. UTSA (3-1) is led by former Texas head coach, Karen Aston.

In April 2020, Aston became another in a long line of Texas coaches booted from Austin for failure live up to the Longhorn’s highfalutin presumption of greatness. Aston (184-83 in Austin) led the Longhorns to 6 NCAA tournaments. Unfortunately, her 1-19 record versus Baylor was reason enough not to renew her contract.

Aston took a year off from coaching, and then, this spring, was hired by UTSA replacing Kristen Holt who was shown the door following four uninspiring seasons. By virtually any measure, the Roadrunners 2-18 (0-14 in conference) were one of basketball’s worst teams. Is Aston in San Antonio for the long haul?

"I just wanna be clear that I'm committed to UTSA," she said.

Obviously, Aston recognized the Roadrunners needed a talent influx and immediately hit the transfer portal. The biggest catch was 6’3” forward Elyssa Coleman who followed Aston from Texas after sitting out her freshman year for knee surgery. Joining Coleman in the starting lineup are:

Jadyn Pimentel a 5’2” guard from Lamar who averaged 8.8 points per game and was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

LaPraisjah Johnson a 5’10” guard from Nevada where she averaged 6.4 and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Queen Ulabo a 5’10” guard from Barton C.C. average 16.3 points and 9.0 rebounds and was a Jay Hawk West All Conference Player (no, I don’t know if that means anything).

Charlene Mass a 5’7” guard has played two years at UTSA and probably is most useful showing the newcomers around campus.

Among the bench players is Hailey Atwood a 5’8” guard from Blinn College where she averaged 18.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

Nevertheless, UTSA was still picked 13th in the 14 team Conference USA and it is hard to see any reason for optimism. They have lost games to Stephan F. Austin, Abilene Christian and Texas State. UTSA arrives at Williams Arena following a 66-60 win over UIW (University of the Incarnate Word). After playing Minnesota, the Roadrunners move on to Tempe for games versus Arizona State and Colorado State before scurrying back to San Antonio. It’s going to be a test of Karen Aston’s commitment.

UTSA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL A BRIEF HISTORY:

UTSA women’s basketball played its first season in 1981-82. After playing two years as an independent the Roadrunners became members of the six team Oil Country Conference. The Oil Country went bust after two years and the Roadrunners returned to independence. In 1992 UTSA hooked up with the Southland Conference which lasted until 2122 when they did a one year stint in the WAC before joining Conference USA.

The glory days of UTSA women’s basketball had to be 2008 and 2009. The Roadrunners won the Southland Tournament each season earning an NCAA tournament bid. In 2008, they were routed by Texas A&M, 51-92. Their second trip was memorable. The Roadrunners, a 15 seed, took 2nd seeded Baylor to OT in an 82-87 loss. Leon Barmore was filling in as Baylor’s head coach because Kim Mulkey had been hospitalized on game day.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

The Gophers have defeated UTSA twice in the distant, dusty past. On 11-23-84 Minnesota won 60-57 in the Queen’s Classic in Plainview, Texas and just a month later the Gophers prevailed 86-72. The second game was either in San Antonio or San Diego-sources vary.


JUST PASSING THRU:

Jacques Webster (Travis Scott) attended UTSA from 2009-10.


UTSA RECORD (1-3):

Wins
: Incarnate Word 66-60

Losses: Stephan F. Austin 50-77, Abilene Christian 53-72, Texas State 62-76

LaPraisjah Johnson Last Four Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
S. F Austin1341173
Abilene Christian1313362
Texas State1354310
Incarnate Word1451302


Queen Ulabo Last Four Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
S.F. Austin760301
Abilene Christian12102183
Texas State882263
Incarnate Word880352


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’10”GGLaPraisjah Johnson28.813.33.8
6’3”FRJrElyssa Coleman17.59.82.5
5’2”GGJadyn Pimentel27.34.32.5
5’10”GJrQueen Ulabo24.88.88.0
5’7”GJrCharlene Moss26.04.32.0


Others:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’8’GJrHailey Atwood20.02.54.0
6’5”CJrEdward Blanding14.83.35.3
5’6”GJrLeslie Hunter4.71.31.0
6’1”FSrYliyana Valcheva9.82.32.5
5’8”GJrEmile Baek8.71.70.0
 


adamj95

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No one watching the game? Seems like a balanced effort so far. 10 players have scored so far, 5 players with 6 or more points. I like to see it.
 

whalenfan

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No one watching the game? Seems like a balanced effort so far. 10 players have scored so far, 5 players with 6 or more points. I like to see it.
This is the worst team theyll play all year and the Gophers treated it as such, everyone with playing time. With this being their 9th game in 19 days or something crazy like that and a pretty big game on Wed against UNC its nice to limit everyones minutes.
 



EaganGopher22

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And we did get to see more of Czinano, Hedman, Strande, Sconiers, and Cumming in this game.
 

Gophers112233

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I thought JP had one of her best games in her career.. yes it was against UTSA but once she got going she didn't stop.. 28/6/8 .. she ran the offense pretty dang well today.. should of had 10 assists

Smith FINALLY looked to be a solid back up scoring option, by far her best game in a gopher jersey so far. attacked and made some nice pull up jumpers as well.. her defense was stellar like always..

Rose even though she only scored 6 points I thought she really showed some bright spots, had a steal and went coast to coast.. had a nice power move for an AND 1 and had another steal, if anything she likes to be aggressive on defense..

Klarke looked the best she has all season long today, actually looked for her shot a couple times.

Diva also had a nice game, should of had two more 3's but two of them spun out after going half way down.

it was nice to see the starters get to rest for MUCH of the 2nd half..

hopefully Scalia and Sissoko show up more then they did today on Wednesday, going to need both of them if we want a shot at knocking off UNC.
 





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