Mean Green Come From 17 Points Down To Beat Rice In OT
Kelsey Criner Scores 25 Points
HOUSTON -- North Texas trailed Rice by 17 points with 2:53 left in the third quarter. A drawn charge by Candice Adams -- her 20th of the season -- didn't seem like much at the time but it sparked something great.
Following the charge, the Mean Green (7-14, 4-6 C-USA) went on a 17-1 run, took the Owls (12-9, 3-7 C-USA) to overtime and won 77-69 at the Tudor Fieldhouse.
Senior Kelsey Criner scored 18 points in the fourth and overtime periods and finished with a North Texas season game-high 25 points. Saturday's performance by last season's scoring leader came after playing four minutes total in their most recent game and scoring a combined 23 points in their last five games.
Criner, who in the fourth quarter hit the Mean Green's only 3-pointer, diced her way through the Rice defense and attacked the paint on what felt like every possession. Additionally, Criner made seven free throws in the final two periods.
Meanwhile, Rice struggled at the line, making just nine of their final 20 attempts.
Also contributing to the comeback was freshman Jada Poland, who played a season-high 16 minutes and finished with eight points and eight rebounds, both season-highs. Poland scored six points and had seven rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime period.
Rice got the big lead with rebounding and second chance points. Midway through the third quarter the Owls had more offensive rebounds in the game than North Texas had total rebounds. The Mean Green still finished with eight less rebounds but narrowed the margin towards the end of the game thanks to the efforts by Poland, Criner and sophomore Micayla Buckner.
To start the fourth quarter, North Texas pressed the Rice offense and got them out of rhythm. The Mean Green forced 10 of Rice's 20 turnovers in the game's final 15 minutes.
North Texas took its first lead of the game on a layup by Criner with 2:52 left in regulation.
For most of the game, sophomore Terriell Bradley kept North Texas close. However, the sophomore got in foul trouble late. She finished the game with 18 points. Bradley has now scored 15 or more points in seven of the last 10 games.
North Texas returns to the Super Pit to play Florida Atlantic on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
- North Texas is 2-0 this season in overtime.
- Senior Candice Adams did not make a 3-pointer for the first time in last 20 games.
- North Texas' 14 turnovers in the game is tied for the second fewest they've had in a game this season.
- North Texas made a season-high 24 free throws. Prior to Saturday, the Mean Green hadn't taken more than 25 free throw attempts in a game this season.
- Jada Poland took her first free throw attempts this year. She finished Saturday's game 6-of-8.