North Texas Rally Falls Just Short
Free Throws With One Second Left Sink North Texas
Jan. 5, 2018
DENTON - A furious rally for North Texas fell just short in disappointing fashion on Friday night when a foul by Terriell Bradley put Erica Ogwumike on the foul line with 1.1 seconds to play and two subsequent free throws sunk the Mean Green with a 50-49 loss to fall to 0-2 in Conference USA play.
North Texas (9-5) held Rice without a field goal for the game's final five minutes and 41 seconds, but the Owls (11-2, 1-0) were able to draw the late foul on an inbound pass to Ogwumike under the basket to take a win in their conference opener and claim their sixth straight win.
"It was one of those games that was going to come down to who had the last opportunity, and we needed to not foul, that's for sure," North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell said.
North Texas shot a season-low 30 percent from the field with the help of a relatively hot-shooting fourth quarter to get the Mean Green back in the game after falling down by 12 points with 5:41 to play.
Against a stingy 2-3 zone by Rice, the Mean Green shot just 4-for-19 from beyond the arc and had trouble making Rice adjust defensively.
"We are better shooters, but I don't think we really bought into that until the fourth quarter," Mitchell said. "That's when we really started attacking the zone off the dribble and getting some opportunities to finish around the rim and get to the line. We needed to do that a lot sooner. We talked about it. We just didn't get it done until the fourth quarter."
North Texas got a spark off the bench from freshman Deja Terrell, who scored a game-high 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go with four rebounds. Bradley scored 13 points for the Mean Green, and freshman Lauren Holmes added 11 to round out North Texas' double-figures scorers.
Terrell's steal and layup with 39 seconds left pulled the Mean Green to within one point before Bradley's baseline drive and layup gave North Texas a 47-46 lead with 11.9 seconds left.
"She was great today," Mitchell said of Terrell. "It's just another step up for her. She's gaining a lot of comfort and confidence as a freshman, and she'll continue to help us."
Rice was led by Wendy Knight and Nicole Iademarco, who each scored 13 points, while Ogwumike chipped in nine points and pulled down 17 rebounds.
North Texas opened the game in a huge hole after Rice went on an 11-0 run over a three-minute span in the first quarter before ending the opening frame with a 15-5 lead.
North Texas returns to The Super Pit on Thursday to host Old Dominion at 7 p.m.
MEAN GREEN QUICK SHOTS
- North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell still sits in fifth place all-time in coaching victories for the Mean Green with 32. With her team's next victory, she'll move into a tie for fourth place with Denise Smith and could move into third all-time (Cheri Rapp, 43) this season.
- Freshman Lauren Holmes, the reigning C-USA Freshman of the Week, set a new career-high with six steals, improving on her previous high of five, which she has notched twice this season.
- North Texas held Rice's leading scorer, Erica Ogwumike, to nine points on the night -- half of her season average.