Arlington, Texas - Ta'Rea Cunnigan equaled her career-high with 30 points and the San Jose State women's basketball team earned their first road win of the year defeating the UT Arlington Mavericks 78-70 in Western Athletic Conference action.
Cunnigan was one of three Spartans to scored in double figures. Emily Schill had 11 points and Riana Byrd added 10 and grabbed 15 rebounds. But San Jose State got quality play and scoring from every player on the night. The San Jose State bench outscored the Mavericks reserves 18-to-16; the first time this season the Spartans had that statistical advantage.
"It's big when everybody is involved in the offense and defense," said Cunnigan who was 11-of-19 from the field including 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point line and had five steals. "This is a team game and you can't win with just one or two people. We need everybody contributing on both ends of the floor. We got that tonight and that was a huge factor in getting us this win."
San Jose State (8-12, 5-4 WAC) won the turnover battle forcing UT Arlington into 30 turnovers, which they turned into 21 points.
"When we play high-pressure, high-intensity defense good things happen," said Cunnigan. "We force turnovers and get easy buckets going the other way. When we stay on top of our game defensively, the offense comes."
The Spartans came into the game 0-8 on the road but were determined to not let that be a distraction.
"We've have been struggling on the road," said Cunnigan, "but we've tried to stay focused. We went down early at LA Tech, but fought our way back from a 20-point deficit. We were in foul trouble and had to finish that game with only four players on the floor. But we never let up and never give up in any game. We put that one behind us and really responded well tonight."
After the teams traded the lead 12 times in the first 10 minutes, Alexis Hill drilled a 3-pointer at the 8:43 mark put the Spartans ahead by two. Just over a minute later, Emily Schill hit a layup making the score 23-21 and the Spartans had a lead they would never relinquish.
They scored a season-high five threes in the first 20 minutes and took a 38-29 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Mavericks (3-16, 1-8 WAC) opened the second half on a 5-0 run, trimming the San Jose State advantage to four points. Cunnigan then stole a Mavericks pass, was fouled, and sank one of two free throws to stop the bleeding barely a minute into the period.
The Spartans then put together an 18-to-6 run. Cunnigan contributed 12 points and the team opened a 17-point lead with 11:08 to play. They still had the 17-point margin a minute and a half later, but then went cold from the floor. San Jose State couldn't score on their next nine possessions and saw UT Arlington cut the lead to seven points with 5:43 to play.
Byrd canned a jumper in the paint to end the Mavericks scoring streak and the Spartans, who only shot 68 percent from the free throw line, made six of their final seven attempts and came away with the 78-70 win.
"We pulled away in the second half and they scraped their way back into it," said head coach Tim LaKose. "I was glad we stayed composed and came away with a win. We needed and deserved this one."
San Jose State vs UT Arlington
01/26/13 6:00 p.m. at Arlington, Texas (College Park Center)
At Arlington, Texas (College Park Center)
SAN JOSE STATE 78, UT ARLINGTON 70
SAN JOSE STATE (8-12 (5-4))
Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 11-19 5-8 30; Schill, Emily 3-6 5-6 11; Byrd, Riana 5-14 0-0 10; Tauala, Jayzyl 2-10 2-4 8; Thomas, Chereese 2-5 3-3 8; Hill, Alexis 2-8 2-2 7; James, Classye 2-10 0-2 4. Totals 27-72 17-25 78.
UT ARLINGTON (3-16 (1-8))
Garcia, Aron 8-14 3-5 19; Nwanguma, Desherra 5-9 4-6 14; Suleiman, Laila 4-14 1-2 10; Parker, Kiara 3-13 1-3 8; Green, Malaika 2-8 3-3 8; Williams, Chauntandr 2-5 2-2 6; Holub, Jordan 1-4 1-1 3; Thorpe, Rosalyn 1-3 0-0 2; Johnson, Jade 0-0 0-0 0; Wilson, Kelsey 0-0 0-0 0; Bruce, Krioni 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-70 15-22 70.
San Jose State........................ 38 40 - 78
UT Arlington.................. 29 41 - 70
3-point goals--San Jose State Unive 7-18 (Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 3-4; Tauala, Jayzyl 2-6; Hill, Alexis 1-3; Thomas, Chereese 1-3; James, Classye 0-2), UT Arlington 3-13 (Green, Malaika 1-6; Suleiman, Laila 1-4; Parker, Kiara 1-2; Williams, Chauntandr 0-1). Fouled out--San Jose State Unive-James, Classye, UT Arlington-None. Rebounds--San Jose State Unive 44 (Byrd, Riana 15), UT Arlington 53 (Garcia, Aron 11). Assists--San Jose State Unive 15 (James, Classye 5), UT Arlington 13 (Garcia, Aron 4). Total fouls--San Jose State Unive 20, UT Arlington 20. Technical fouls--San Jose State Unive-None, UT Arlington-Nwanguma, Desherra. A-398