UTPA Media Relations
OREM, Utah – The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) women’s basketball team (13-16, 8-4 GWC) defeated the Houston Baptist University (HBU) Huskies (3-25, 1-11 GWC) 69-61 in the opening round of the inaugural Great West Conference (GWC) Women’s Basketball Tournament at the McKay Center in Orem, Utah.
The No. 2 seed Lady Broncs saw four players in double figures tonight, and were led by sophomore guard Sherrell Davis, who posted a career-high 21 points in 30 minutes of action. She was followed by senior forward Aleeya Grigsby with 16 points. Posting a double-double, senior guard Rose Esther Jean chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Bianca Torre tallied 12 points. The only player to reach a double figure for the Huskies was Jamie Spriggs with 19 points.
“This time of year, players really step up, and that is what Sherrell did. For her, it was a tremendous day during a game when we needed her. I can’t say enough about her resilience to keep pushing and she really got herself focused,” head coach Denny Downing said.
The Lady Broncs stayed ahead of HBU throughout the first half, with their largest lead by a 13-point margin. However UTPA was given a scare when a collision caused Torre to head to the locker room, but she was back within minutes ready to hit the court. By halftime, the Huskies had closed their deficit to 7 points, 35-28.
“Bianca just has a lot of resilience. All she could think about in the locker room was getting back on the court. She is the engine that drives the team right now,” Downing said.
The Huskies came back fighting in the second half, tying the score four times, but never gained the lead. HBU closed in on the Lady Broncs 62-56 with 4:28 left in the game, but a free throw from Grigsby and a lay-up by Jean near the 1:30 minute mark secured the game for UTPA.
“Tonight’s win was a team effort. We had to have our bench and they came in and I know Andrea Garza only played five minutes, but they were huge. Shavon Walker only played two minutes, but they were huge because they were at the end of the half when we had two people in foul trouble. It was really a team win,” Downing said.
The Lady Broncs advance to the semi-finals of the GWC Tournament, where they will play the winner of tonight’s No.3 Chicago State University vs. No. 6 Utah Valley University contest. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. (CT) at the McKay Center on the Utah Valley University campus.