Foul Trouble Proves Costly For Women In Loss To LA Tech
North Texas Falls 77-71 In Hard Fought Battle With Lady Techsters
Junior Candice Adams led North Texas with 18 points, including four shots from long range. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
RUSTON, La. — If the North Texas women’s basketball team has shown us anything, it’s that two days can make a world of difference.
The Mean Green - coming off one of the season’s worst offensive performances on Thursday - put up 71 points and nearly picked up the program’s first win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday from the Thomas Assembly Center, but foul trouble limited the North Texas roster and gave the Lady Techsters plenty of chances from the charity stripe in a 77-71 loss.
North Texas (8-12, 3-7), who took a seven-point lead into the locker room at halftime, was in control for much of the first half. But the final two quarters were summarized by LA Tech’s continuous efforts to go in the paint and draw fouls. The Techsters shot 33 free throws on the day - compared to the Mean Green’s 20 - and cashed in on 28 of them in what was ultimately the difference-maker.
“I thought our effort and intensity was there tonight,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “But in a six-point game, when you think of the free throws and layups that we missed, I think this could’ve been our game. The difference is they converted and we didn’t.”
Mitchell commended her team’s energy, but it was tough to come by in the team’s first five minutes. The coaching staff was surely holding its breath as the game’s hosts forced five quick North Texas turnovers and raced out to a 7-0 lead. However, the Mean Green were able to respond, putting together a 15-4 run to end the first quarter and enter the second with a lead.
The momentum continued for North Texas behind a fast-paced offensive attack. Senior Kasiney Williams played a large part in that pacing, as she tallied four points, five assists, three steals and a rebound in the first half alone. As a team, the Mean Green used 16 first-half turnovers from LA Tech to put 24 points on the board.
But the second half was a different story altogether as the Lady Techsters’ gameplan was clearly reevaluated to accommodate for the play of senior Brandi Wingate. Wingate had just eight points in the first half, but everything ran through her in the second. The 6-1 forward displayed why she is a three-time C-USA player of the week by scoring 21 of her game-high 29 points in the final two quarters.
Wingate’s interior presence demanded extra attention as LA Tech continued to pound the ball inside throughout the second half, putting much of the Mean Green roster in foul trouble.
By the game’s end, North Texas had amassed 29 fouls, and six players had four or more fouls, including juniors Kelsey Criner and Candice Adams who each fouled out of the contest. As a result, the North Texas bench simply wasn’t deep enough to stay in the game.
Despite the loss, Mitchell & Co. had to be pleased with what they saw out of the team’s offensive unit after putting up only 38 points in their last time out. Against LA Tech, four players scored in double figures, led by 18 from Adams, who tied a career high and connected on four shots from long range.
The Mean Green now head home, where the team will welcome Old Dominion and Charlotte to the Super Pit for games next week. North Texas will be looking to improve upon a slump that has seen them drop five of the last six contests.
“I expect the same energy, intensity and focus that we got out of the team tonight,” Mitchell said on looking forward. “Obviously I want to fix the mistakes and do our best to get two wins at home next week.”
• Adams tied a career high with 18 points and four three-pointers. At eighth-place in NT’s all-time threes list, Adams is one away from tying Ramona Black for seventh in program history.
• Williams tied career highs with five assists and three steals.
• Freshman Brooke Jolivette saw action for the first time since Jan. 16 at WKU.
• Freshman Orianna Shillow made her third straight start and senior Teadra Jones found herself in the starting rotation for the first time since a triple-overtime loss at Rice (Jan. 10).
• With the loss, North Texas falls to 5-5 when leading at the half. The Mean Green led by seven points at halftime on Saturday.
• NT remains winless versus LA Tech, falling to 8-0 all-time.
The Mean Green will head back home for two contests from the Super Pit. That slate begins with a 7 p.m. matchup against Old Dominion on Thursday, Feb. 11.