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The UTSA Roadrunners (9-10, 4-3) overcame a 16-point deficit to upset the No. 24 ranked Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (17-3, 6-1) snapping their 14-game winning streak. The Roadrunners — on a three game winning streak — got their revenge for the men’s team who fell to the Hilltoppers in Western Kentucky, 83-74.

“There’s always time to make history. I believe in my team all the way, and we believe in each other. This win shows how much we believe in each other,” the confident Akunna Elonu affirmed after the first UTSA win against a top-25 team in program history.

Both teams came out fierce and ready to battle in this first meeting between the programs this season. The first half was very physical with neither team letting up. Miscues were abundant in the half with the Roadrunners and Hilltoppers amassing 21 and 14 turnovers respectively.

Elonu commented about the turnovers, “If we work on little things like [turnovers], we will definitely be a better overall team and be able to compete with other top-25 teams and beat them as well.”

UTSA trailed by a score of 27-21 at halftime.

“We had way too many turnovers in the first half. We were lucky to still be in the game [at halftime],” explained Roadrunner Head Coach, Lubomyr Lichonczak.

Western Kentucky started the second half scoring, increasing the lead to a 16-point advantage, including a 12-2 run. Even with a score of 45-29, the Roadrunners never gave up. “We just kept fighting,” said sophomore center Tesha Smith.

UTSA did a much better job protecting the ball after halftime, tallying only four turnovers in the second half, leading to a total of 25 for the game, one less than the Hilltoppers.

With a dominate rebounding effort, the Roadrunners slowly chipped away at the lead and found themselves at the free-throw line with a chance to tie. Smith was on the line and sunk both free throws.

“[The ball] felt good in my hands. I wasn’t scared. We cannot play scared. We weren’t intimidated by anyone. We just came in, put up our best effort and came up with the win,” explained Smith about her free throws that tied the game and put UTSA up the next play.

There were critical fouls for both teams down the stretch as the Hilltoppers’ second-best scorer, San Antonio native Alexis Govan — who ended up with 22 points — put Western Kentucky up by one point on a critical free throw with seven seconds remaining.

On UTSA’s final drive of the game, junior forward Mannasha Bell was sidelined by a hard foul as she drove to the rim. With Bell out, Coach Lichonczak put Elonu to the free-throw line. She sank both free throws securing the 64-63 victory.

When asked if they can win the conference, Tesha Smith confidently shouted, “Yes! We can definitely win the conference. I have confidence in our team and our coach.”

Said Coach Lichonczack, “I’ve always felt that we can win the conference. We’re not playing for second place; we’re playing to win it. That takes hard work, humility and perseverance. It was a tremendous win, I’m very proud of our team to do that.”

Next for UTSA is a road game against Middle Tennessee.

on Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 pm.

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