Mean Green Women Can’t Carry Momentum In 71-61 Loss
North Texas Falls To Florida Atlantic To Split Sunshine State Swing
Acheil Tac notched her third straight double-double on Saturday. She now has 16 in her career. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
BOCA RATON, Fla. — The North Texas women’s basketball team entered the second game of its Florida road swing hoping to carry over momentum from a dominant defensive performance on Thursday, but a solid first quarter didn’t carry over to the remaining three in a 71-61 loss to the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday.
After the Mean Green put up 27 points in the game’s first quarter, FAU switched to a 2-3 zone scheme that deflated the visiting team’s offensive momentum and gave North Texas problems for the remainder of the day.
North Texas (9-15, 4-10) struggled with the Owls defensive adjustments, combining for a 28.6 shooting percentage in the final three quarters after accumulating a 57.1 percent mark in the first frame. Mean Green guards Kelsey Criner, Candice Adams and Terra Ellison - key players in the North Texas offense - also struggled, combining to hit just 34.2 percent of their attempts.
“Our guards didn’t have a very good night,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “It was important for us to try to go inside more than we did. We stopped throwing it in there and, to an extent, we didn’t convert when we did.”
Senior Acheil Tac was the only Mean Green player that found any consistent success at the offensive end. Powered by eight offensive boards on the day, the Garland, Texas, native scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to earn her ninth double-double of the season.
The Mean Green got off to a hot start in the first quarter by knocking down six of its first seven shots, at one point sparking a 9-0 run. The trio of Tac, Criner and Adams combined for 21 points in the frame, powering North Texas to a 27-18 lead.
But FAU stormed back in the second quarter behind its defensive adjustments. The Owls would go on to put together some impressive shooting in the remaining quarters, most notably going 9-of-14 (.643) and 7-of-13 (.538), in the second and fourth quarters, respectively.
Behind those hot marks, FAU had established its biggest lead of the day, 65-50, with 4:49 remaining in the game, and North Texas just couldn’t do enough to catch up.
The Mean Green now prep for its last two home games of the season next week, opportunities that Mitchell would like to capitalize on.
“[These final home games] are important to me because I don’t think we’ve had a really great showing at home this season,” the first-year coach said. “I’d like to go home and win two and let our fans know how much we appreciate them by playing hard and gutting it out.”
The home stand will begin with a showdown against Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, from the Super Pit.
• Adams nailed a 3-pointer in the first quarter that propelled her to sole possession of sixth place on NT’s all-time list. With 89 career treys, she has passed Jalie Mitchell and is approaching a fifth-place Delaine Taylor (97 makes).
• Tac’s double-double gives her 16 for her career, leading all active players in C-USA.
• Criner had a five-assist performance on Saturday. With 118 dimes this season, the junior guard is ninth for assists in a single year.
• The Mean Green’s 27-point first quarter ties for the third-highest total the team has scored in a single frame this season.