Women's Basketball Opens C-USA Play With Victory
Mean Green Defeats UTSA, 68-58
DENTON -- The North Texas women's basketball team started the New Year by opening Conference USA play with a strong offensive performance. The Mean Green defeated UTSA, 68-58, on Friday afternoon in the Super Pit.
The win improved the Mean Green's overall record to 6-5, its first winning record in over two years. The victory was the first conference win for head coach Jalie Mitchell. She improves her overall career coaching record to 6-5.
"I think the big start was huge for our team," said Mitchell. "If you can start and finish well, you can win a game. This was probably our most consistent game."
North Texas used 60 percent shooting in the first period to build a lead that it extended to double-digits in the second quarter. UTSA went on a run at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Mean Green was able to withstand the storm with its big lead.
Kelsey Criner had a career day with a personal-best 23 points. The junior transfer was a force right from the start of the game. In the opening five minutes, she scored six points, recorded two steals and dished out an assist. With her first 3-pointer of the game, she gave North Texas a 27-12 advantage with 6:11 left in the second quarter. The 3-pointer gave her 12 points, the same number of points as the entire UTSA team.
The Mean Green made six of its first eight shots, jumping out to 13-8 lead and the home team did not look back. North Texas continued its hot hand in the second quarter, starting the period with an 11-0 run. UTSA was held to just six points in the second quarter.
Down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter, UTSA cut into the lead with a 12-3 run to start off the final period. Candice Adams fueled the Mean Green offense, scoring six straight points for the Mean Green to keep NT ahead by double-digits. UTSA cut the advantage down to 10 points with 30 second left on the clock, but the Roadrunners ran out of time.
"We definitely had to keep doing the things that gave us the lead in the first place," said Mitchell. "Give UTSA credit for continuing to fight."
North Texas continues home conference play with a game against UTEP on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hits
• The Mean Green won its third straight game; its longest winning streak of the season. North Texas kept the win streak alive despite the 10-day layoff over the holidays.
• The Mean Green moved to 6-5 with the win; its first winning record in 766 days (two years, one month and six days). The last time North Texas won a game to give it a winning record was Nov. 24, 2013, when the Mean Green upped its record to 3-2 with an 82-79 win over Bethune-Cookman. Two days later, North Texas lost to Grand Canyon, 67-65, and the Mean Green has not been over .500 again until Friday afternoon.
• Kelsey Criner scored in double-figures for the sixth game this season. Her 23 points is an individual single-game best for the Mean Green this season.
• Criner, Candice Adams, Terra Ellison and Teadra Jones all scored in double-figures. Acheil Tac pulled down double-figures in rebounds.
• The 32 points was the second-most points North Texas has scored in a first half. NT scored 35 against Oklahoma.
• The Mean Green held UTSA to just six points in the second period.
• The Mean Green had the most points they've scored in a first quarter this season with 21 points.