Mean Green Fall To Hot Shooting Middle Tennessee
North Texas Loses 56-48
Jan. 18, 2018
MURFREESBORO, TENN. North Texas held Middle Tennessee's leading scorer Abby Sissom scoreless for 37 minutes and 53 seconds.
But with 2:07 left in the game, Sissom nailed a corner 3-pointer, the team's 11th of the game. The 3-pointer gave the Lady Raiders a five-point lead and the game's final punch in their 56-48 win over the Mean Green Thursday night from the Murphy Center.
North Texas (11-6, 2-3 C-USA) and the C-USA preseason favorite Lady Raiders (11-7, 3-2 C-USA) both entered Thursday's game as two of the best defensive team's in the country and it showed early on. The two teams combined to force more tunrovers in the first-half than field goals.
UNT, the nation's No. 3 scoring defense, held the Lady Radiers, the nation's No. 12 scoring defense, to 28 percent shooting in the first-half to take a 24-20 lead at the midway point
But in the third quarter Middle Tennessee came out firing.
The Lady Raiders hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and nearly doubled their score in the one quarter alone. While they were hitting 3-pointers, the Mean Green could only muster up 4-of-14 from the field. The third quarter surge gave Middle Tennessee a four-point lead at the final quarter break.
UNT fought back, tying the game early in the fourth quarter with four straight points by post Micayla Buckner. But the threes continued to rain from the Lady Raiders as they were a perfect 3-for-3 from deep in the fourth quarter.
North Texas' leading scorer and defending conference player of the week, Terriell Bradley, was a heavy focus for the Middle Tennessee defense. The Lady Raiders contained Bradley and limited her to just 10 points. Bradley made her first field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
The focus on Bradley opened the door for the post players like Buckner to score but the redshirt junior was unable to stay out of foul trouble as she fouled out after only playing 13 minutes.
While Middle Tennessee couldn't miss from 3-point range, hitting 48 percent of its 23 attempts, North Texas struggled from deep.
The Mean Green who combined to make a program-best 20 3-pointers in their last two consecutive games went 4-of-15 from deep.
UNT aimed to push the tempo and get buckets in transition on the less athletic Lady Raiders, couldn't finish at the rim when opportunities were presented.
A big storyline entering the game was the return of Middle Tennessee's preseason C-USA Player of the Year post Alex Johnson, who had missed nine straight games with an injury. Thursday, Johnson was trapped constantly by the Mean Green defense and towards the end of the game was forced to be more of a passer out of the post. Johnson finished with eight points.
North Texas travels to UAB on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off.
MEAN GREEN QUICK SHOTS
- Sophomore Jada Poland made her first career 3-pointer on Thursday.
- Bradley is only six points away from her 900th career point
- Lauren Holmes had three steals and has now recorded three or more steals in nine games