SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA women's basketball team is headed for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a noon C.T. tipoff awaiting Saturday against Temple inside the Liacouras Center. The contest will represent the 'Runners inaugural American Athletic Conference game, as well as the first meeting in the history of the two programs.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+, with Jon Mozes providing play-by-play alongside Nicki Jones. Neal Raphael will deliver the radio call in the greater San Antonio area on The Bull 93.3 FM and worldwide on the iHeartRadio app.
The Roadrunners (6-5, 0-0 AAC) exit the holiday break after polishing off the nonconference slate, splitting across a trip to the Pacific Northwest.
UTSA first fell to Oregon, before besting Seattle U, 75-64 in a victory that allowed UTSA to enter league play with a positive record for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign. Additionally, a pair of stellar performances by freshman Idara Udo and redshirt junior Elyssa Coleman propelled the duo toward league recognition.
Udo was crowned the AAC Freshman of the Week, becoming the first Roadrunner to accomplish the feat since Coleman was awarded the C-USA iteration on Nov. 22, 2021. The Plano, Texas native dropped a career-high 15 points to go with nine rebounds, while Coleman used an 18-point nine-rebound performance to crack the AAC Honor Roll.
UTSA will enter conference play as the league leader in blocks per game, rebound margin and rebounds per game. The 'Runners 46.5 rpg rank 11th nationally, while the squad hauls in 12.8 rebounds more than their opponents for the 14th-best average in the NCAA. Boasting 5.5 bpg, the Roadrunners sit 15th nationally. Coleman leads the team in that category, swatting 1.73 shots each time out for the second-most in the AAC. Senior Kyra White and Udo join Coleman in averaging at least a block per game, with White also pacing the AAC in minutes per game at 34.9.
Sophomore Sidney Love joins White as an individual conference leader, working an incredibly efficient 87.0% free throw percentage, and serves as the 'Runners leader scorer with 12.2 ppg. Also in the double-digit scoring club, White averages 10.6 ppg, and Coleman 10.3 ppg.
The Owls (3-2, 0-0 AAC) transition into AAC action holding a .500 record and have been hot in December, with lone defeats only at the hands of Pacific and Northwestern. Temple most recently competed against the Wildcats, narrowly falling 72-68 on Dec. 21. In the loss, they hauled in a whopping 27 offensive rebounds, bringing their seasonal average to 17.9. That figure currently ranks fourth across the NCAA and is one of three categories in which the Owls lead the conference.
Temple has been incredible at protecting the basketball, logging a league-low 13.2 turnovers per game and a 1.19 assist/turnover ratio. Aleah Nelson has been a significant reason for the success, with a 2.73 assists/turnover ratio that tops The American's individual leader board. Her 5.0 apg ranks second across the AAC, while her 11.2 ppg sits second on the team behind only Tiarra East's 12.0 ppg mark. East also serves as one of the Owl's top defenders with 1.75 spg, while Rayne Tucker tops the squad with 7.2 rpg.