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SLC winners
SLC winners
Top photo: UTSA seniors Amanda Foster (left) and Terrie Davis celebrate Saturday's
Southland Conference Championship, the first in school history.
Bottom photo: Team, staff and supporters
>> Read more and listen to the March 15 winning game.

Wear Your Orange-and-Blue: UTSA wins first-ever SLC title

By Carlos Valdez III
Assistant Sports Information Director

(March 17, 2008)--The UTSA women's basketball team is going NCAA Tournament dancing for the first time in school history after defeating Lamar, 65-56, in the 2008 Southland Conference championship game Saturday at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. And a plus... the win comes during Women's History Month.

The NCAA Women's Tournament match-ups will be announced on ESPN between 6 and 7 p.m., Monday, March 17. Join Coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair and the Roadrunners at 5 p.m. March 17 to learn who their opponent will be in the NCAA Tournament. The team will host a watch party at the Fox & Hound at the corner of DeZavala and Vance Jackson streets. Appetizers and soft drinks will be provided, and the event is free and open to the public.

Senior forward Amanda Foster posted her second double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Roadrunners (23-9), while junior guard Monica Gibbs, who was named the SLC Tournament MVP, collected her 22nd career double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Senior guard Terrie Davis, named to the SLC All-Tournament Team, chipped in with 15 points on the strength of five 3-pointers including four in the first half. Junior Onika Anderson collected All-Tournament honors.

"We played a great game today," said head coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair after winning the first SLC title of her eight-year tenure in the Alamo City. "Amanda, Monica and Terrie had their best games of the season and I am so proud of them. They showed up and got us this victory."

It wasn't easy, though, as Lamar came out firing with a 14-3 run led by Tamara Abalde and Brittney Williams to cut the lead to 41-31 in the first five minutes of the second half. UTSA then pushed its lead back to 16 courtesy of a 6-0 spurt over the next three minutes. The Lady Cardinals again pulled within 10 on Abalde's jumper from the free throw line and Trashanna Smith then drained 1-of-2 free throws to pull Lamar within eight at the four-minute mark.

A pair of freebies by Abalde cut UTSA's lead to six with a minute to play, but it would be the closest the Lady Cardinals would get the rest of the way. The Roadrunners made 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final minute to clinch their first-ever SLC Tournament Championship.

Abalde led the Lady Cardinals (19-13) with a game-high 20 points, while Nikki Williams added 16. Foster's 3-pointer from the left wing put UTSA up 13-4 with 15:19 to go in the first half. Lamar closed the gap to eight when Jasmine Stewart was good on a free throw midway through the frame. Davis' fourth triple of the stanza capped a 12-0 Roadrunners' run with seven minutes to play in the half. Abalde ended a Lady Cardinals four-minute scoreless drought with a lay-up two minutes later, but freshman guard Amber Gregg gave UTSA its largest lead of the game at 38-17 with a driving lay-up as the clock expired.

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