LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The third-seeded University of Texas-Pan American Broncs women’s basketball team went on a 22-4 run over the final 7:42 to knock off the second-seeded Bakersfield Roadrunners 76-70 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Semifinals on Friday at Orleans Arena.
The Broncs (19-13) now have an opportunity to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history when they face top-seeded New Mexico State for the WAC Tournament Championship on Saturday at 3 p.m. CDT (1 p.m. PDT). The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Sophomore Shawnte’ Goff led the Broncs with her first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points with a career-high tying 11 rebounds and three steals. Senior Brittany Bush scored 12 points. Freshman Hildur Björg Kjartansdóttir scored 10 points with five rebounds. Senior Tonisha Walkeralso scored 10 points.
Tyonna Outland led the Roadrunners (23-8) with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Erika Williams scored 21 points with 12 rebounds.
The Broncs trailed 66-54 after Williams hit a pair of three-pointers with 8:27 remaining.
Bush responded a layup, and then freshman Stephanie Onyeje and Goff followed suit as the Broncs scored six-straight points to launch a 12-2 run that saw the Broncs pull within 68-66.
After an Outland layup, Bush hit a jumper and a layup to tie the game at 70 with 1:51 to go. Bush hit another jumper just over a minute later to give the Broncs the lead, and then junior Rickell Preston hit a layup before Walker sealed the deal with free throws.
The game was tight early, as Kjartansdóttir hit a layup to bring the Broncs within 17-16 at the 12:53 mark, but Outland used free throws to bookend an 8-0 run as the Roadrunners built a 25-16 lead.
The Roadrunners led by as many as 10 after a Shaquita Smith three made it 30-20 with 8:32 remaining in the first half, but Kjartansdóttir hit a pair of free throws and Walker nailed a three to cut the deficit in half.
The Broncs were still down two possessions at 41-37 when freshman Troi Swain hit a jumper, Kjartansdóttir hit a game-tying layup, and Goff made a jumper to put the Broncs up 43-41 at halftime.
The Broncs kept up the pressure at the start of the second half when Walker and Goff knocked down three-pointers to sandwich an Outland layup and cap the 12-2 run with the Broncs up 49-43.
The Roadrunners responded by scoring nine-straight points as part of a 15-1 run to take a 58-50 lead on a jumper by Brittany Sims with 11:58 remaining.
Goff broke the run by grabbing a rebound and going coast-to-coast for a layup to make it a six-point game.