No. 15-seed UTSA overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat No. 10-seed Tulsa in first round Conference USA tournament action Tuesday night at Memorial Gym on the campus of UTEP. UTSA made eight of their last 14 field goals and 10-of-14 free throws to overtake the Hurricane.
Tulsa's season ends with an overall 12-16 record, while UTSA advances to the second round with a 14-16 mark. UTSA plays No. 7 seed Old Dominion on Wednesday at 7:30 pm (MT).
Tulsa had five players in double-figures, led by Kelsee Grovey's 20 points, while Ashley Clark scored 18 points and added 12 rebounds. Kadan Brady and Mariah Turner added 15 points apiece, and Stevi Parker added 12 points. UTSA's Miki Turner had a game-high 32 points, including eight of the Roadrunners' final 10 points. Mathilde Hergott added 18 points and Ashley Spaletta 17 points, as the duo combined to convert 11-of-18 three-pointers,
UTSA's second-half shooting was sizzling as the Roadrunners hot 53-percent from the field and 69-percent from three-point range.
After trailing most of the game, UTSA took an 80-79 lead with 2:21 left on the game clock on a Turner field goal. A three-point play by Grovey put the Hurricane back ahead 82-80. Tulsa's Turner put Tulsa back ahead 84-82 with a jumper and again 86-84 with two free throws with 1:08 remaining.
Spaletta's three-pointer at the 0:35 mark put UTSA ahead 88-86. Turner tied the score at 89 for the Hurricane with 0:17 left on the game clock. But a Tulsa foul with 0:09 remaining put UTSA's Turner on the line for two free throws, missing her first, but connecting on her second.
Tulsa's last chance at scoring the victory ended as a Grovey jumper went astray.
Ahead by 12 points at halftime, Tulsa increased its lead to 55-41 with 15:30 remaining in the first half, but UTSA knocked the Hurricane lead to under 10 points at 55-46 at the 14:46 mark and cut it to six points, 57-51 on a three-pointer by Spaletta and a fast-break layup by Kamra King.
Tulsa scored on two straight possessions to get back to a 10-point lead, but Turner's three-pointer cut it to seven points. The Roadrunners kept pecking away at the Tulsa lead getting as close as six points at 63-57 at the 10:49 mark before a Brady steal and assist to Clark for a layup put Tulsa back ahead by eight. Clark drove the lane again to give Tulsa a 10-point lead at 67-57.
Spaletta's three at the 6:24 mark to cut the Tulsa lead to five points at 72-67, Grovey answered with a Grovey running layup in the lane. Spaletta knocked down another three for the Roadrunners to make the score 74-70.
A fast-break layup by Micki Turner brought UTSA to within two points at 74-72 with 5:07 left to play. A McKenzie Adams free throw made the score 74-73.
Two Mariah Turner free throws and a Stevi Parker layup pushed Tulsa's lead back to five points at 78-73 with 3:52 on the clock.
Mathilde's three-pointer from the left corner tied the score at 78 with 2:55 left. Grovey connected on just one of two free throws with 2:30 to play to give Tulsa a one-point lead at 79-78. The game went back-and-forth in the final two minutes as UTSA garnered the victory.
Tulsa's Clark scored the first two points of the game, but UTSA took a 6-2 lead on two three-pointers. The game was tied at 6, 10, 16 and 18 before Tulsa took a one-point lead and wouldn't relinquish that lead in the first half.
With Tulsa leading 19-18 after a Kadan Brady traditional three-point play, there was a delay due to power outage that stopped play for four minutes. Following the stoppage of play, Tulsa went on a 7-0 run to take a 26-18 lead, but UTSA responded with a 5-0 run of their own to make the score 26-23.
The Hurricane then went on a 6-0 run for a 32-23 lead, before a second power outage hit at the 4:42 mark of the game as Jasmine Vasquez was going to the line for two shots. The outage lasted one minute and Vasquez ended up missing both free throws.
When play resumed, UTSA ran off four points to cut the lead to five points at 32-27 with 4:36 remaining in the first half. Tulsa took a double-digit lead 42-31 on two free throws by Grovey at the 2:11 mark, then Grovey's three-pointer the next time down the floor put the Hurricane ahead 45-33.
Tulsa equaled its season-high point total for the first half as the Hurricane closed out the first 20 minutes with a 47-34 lead. Tulsa connected on 53-percent of its field goals and 43-percent from three-point range. The Hurricane also held a 24 to 15 edge in rebounding in the first half.