DENTON (11/22/02) -- Veterans Kim Blanton and Angel Lewis registered double-doubles and freshman Jamie Armstrong contributed 18 points in her collegiate debut as the North Texas Lady Eagles battled past UT-San Antonio, 82-66, in both team's 2002-03 season opener Friday night at the Super Pit.
Blanton, a junior forward, led the attack with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Lewis, one of just two seniors on the Lady Eagles, finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Blanton's totals were both career highs for her while the 10 rebounds for Lewis marked a career high.
North Texas -- capturing its 15th consecutive home win -- shot just 27 of 71 from the floor (38 percent) but were able to pull away from the Roadrunners at the free throw line. The Lady Eagles shot 83 percent (25 of 30) at the line and out-scored UTSA by a 25-5 margin at the line.
"Overall I was pleased that we were able to set the tone early and get off to a good start," said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. "I thought the best part was that you couldn't tell that Jamie Armstrong was a freshman. She looked very composed on the floor.
"I was very pleased with the Kim played tonight," Slinker added. "She's a phenomenal athlete. With her and Angel down low, they will be tough to stop."
Blanton connected on eight of 15 field goals and went 5-of-9 at the line for her game-high 21 points. She also had two of the Lady Eagles' 10 steals in the game. Armstrong, playing in her first collegiate game, got her 18 points off 7-of-12 shooting from the floor and hitting all three free throws she attempted. She also grabbed five rebounds and shared team-high honors with three assists.
North Texas only trailed twice in the game, after the opening tip at 2-0 and again at 10-9 less than five minutes into the game. After taking over the lead at the 15:25 mark in the opening half on a pair of free throws by Armstrong, the Lady Eagles were able to post a 42-35 halftime advantage.
A run by the Lady Eagles midway through the second half opened NT's lead to its biggest margin, 19 points at 65-46 with 7:47 remaining. But UTSA out-scored North Texas 15-2 over the next three minutes to trim the margin down to 67-61 with 4:17 left.
Three unanswered lay-ups by North Texas' Blanton and Lewis widened the gap back to double figures and UTSA never got any closer than 11 points.
The Lady Eagles will play Alcorn State on Friday in the opening round of the Southwest Texas Classic in San Marcos.