Texas Border Business
CEDAR CITY, Utah – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros women’s basketball team fell in the first game of its two-game series with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds 80-73 on Sunday at America First Event Center.
Sophomore Sara Bershers led UTRGV (4-3) with a career-high 22 points on a career-high 8-of-18 shooting, including a career-high 5-of-11 from three-point range, while blocking a career-high six shots and grabbing seven rebounds. Graduate student Amara Graham added 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The Thunderbirds (4-4) were led by Liz Graves who recorded a double-double with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Daylani Ballena scored 14 points while Cherita Daugherty added 13 points with five assists.
The Vaqueros opened the game on a 9-0 run after a three-pointer from Bershers, a layup and a free throw from Graham, and another three-pointer by Bershers. After a layup from redshirt junior Burcu Soysal gave UTRGV the 13-7 lead, the Thunderbirds answered with a 9-0 run to close out the quarter taking the 16-13 lead.
In the second quarter, Graham knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 18-18 with 8:17 left in the half. With the game tied at 20-20 the Vaqueros went on an 8-0 run that started with a fast break layup by Graham and then was capped by a Bershers layup that made it 30-22 with 2:41 left in the half.
The Thunderbirds answered with a 9-0 run of their own to close out the half as they took the 31-30 lead into halftime.
Bershers got the scoring started in the third quarter with a three-pointer that gave UTRGV the 33-31 lead and then later in the quarter Bershers knocked down a bucket that made it 37-35 UTRGV with 5:49 left in the quarter.
Later in the quarter, the Thunderbirds got a bucket from Bryar Tronnier that gave them the lead for good at 43-41.
The Vaqueros got as close as 49-48 after a three-pointer by sophomore Halie Jones with 8:42 left to play but the Thunderbirds pushed the lead to as many as 10 points to put the game away.
The Vaqueros will be back in action on Monday to close out the two-game series with Southern Utah. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.