MIAMI – Looking for career win No. 100, Karen Aston’s North Texas women’s basketball team couldn’t stop a hard-charging FIU squad in the second half of a 68-65 loss at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The Mean Green (13-11, 6-5 Sun Belt West) led by as many as nine early in the second and shot 50.0 percent in the game, but 19 turnovers proved too much to overcome.
Sara Stanley single handedly kept the Mean Green in the game late. Stanley cut the FIU (16-8, 6-5 Sun Belt East) lead to a single point with three straight buckets inside the final minute of play, including a put-back with 10.8 seconds remaining to make it 66-65.
That’s when Jerica Coley, who led the FIU comeback efforts, buried a pair of free throws to ice the game. Tamara Torru had a contested look at the potential game-tying 3-pointer, but it drew the front of the iron.
Coley scored a game-high 25 points and helped the Golden Panthers score an 18-7 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good.
Stanley was nearly as potent with a career-high 19 points – her second straight career game.
Desiree Nelson gave NT a 5-0 lead when she converted a 3-point play after getting fouled on a baseline drive to the bucket. Moments later, a transition layup from Brittney Hudson put the Mean Green on top 11-2 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the half.
The Mean Green hit five of its first nine shots in the game, all while holding the Golden Panthers to just one bucket in the first eight minutes.
That hot shooting continued for the rest of the half. NT was 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) shooting in the frame, and went into the break with a 30-24 edge thanks to Jasmine Godbolt’s put-back from the left block inside the final minute.
Fanni Hutlassa led a Golden Panther run midway through the second half that gave FIU its first lead of the day at 41-39. The senior poured in nine straight FIU points, including the game-tying bucket with just over 13 minutes left.
North Texas will take on Florida Atlantic on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Boca Raton, Fla.