DENTON, TX - In a matchup against the 13th-ranked team in the nation, the North Texas women battled back from a 20-point first-half deficit to close within 10, but couldn't maintain the rally and fell to Texas A&M, 67-48, Monday night at the Super Pit.
North Texas found it difficult to operate against the Aggies' very aggressive man-to-man defense, which forced North Texas to work not only for shots but to move the ball through disrupted passing lanes.
"They're very good defensively," North Texas coach Mike Petersen said. "They really, really get after you, and we didn't handle it very well. They really disrupted us, and when they did we came apart a little."
North Texas finished the game hitting just 31.7 percent of its shots from the field.
"They're 13th in the country for a reason," Petersen said. "We just didn't make enough plays to have a chance to compete with the 13th-best team in the country."
Down 39-17 late in the first half, North Texas (1-1 on the season) rallied strongly with a 12-2 run - aided by a 7-3 NT rebounding advantage - to close within 10 points at 39-29. Junior Briesha Wynn, a transfer playing just her second game with North Texas, poured in six points in the rally. Wynn finished the night as the Mean Green's leading scorer with 13 points, the only player for North Texas to score in double figures.
But A&M responded immediately with a 9-0 run to extend its advantage back to a secure 19 points and maintained control the rest of the way.
In the early going, the Mean Green defense kept North Texas close, out-rebounding the much taller Aggies through the first 10 minutes. But the inability to get the offense untracked allowed the Aggies to steadily move out to a comfortable lead. After Achiel Tac drew North Texas within two at 8-6, A&M went on an 18-2 run to open a 24-8 lead. North Texas fell behind by as many as 20 points, but finished the half on a 6-0 run, capped by a three-point field goal by Desiree Nelson, to close the gap to 37-23 at halftime.
North Texas struggled from both the field and the free-throw line in the first half, shooting 32 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the line.
Briesha Wynn, a transfer from TCU who made her NT debut in Saturday's season opener, led North Texas in the first half with six points and four rebounds. She finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Desiree Nelson had a strong game off the bench for North Texas, scoring on a pair of steals turned into fast-break layups as well as nailing a three-pointer to end the first half. She finished with nine points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.
Laura McCoy hit a three-pointer late in the game to lift North Texas to 48 points, keeping North Texas from scoring the fewest points in the Mike Petersen era (47 last year against Middle Tennessee).
Hannah Christian, who missed much of the second half of last season due to concussion symptoms, made her first appearance of the season Monday night, entering the game late in the first half.
Acheil Tac had her second-straight strong outing, going for eight points and seven boards.
The Mean Green plays its first road game of the season when it takes on the Houston Cougars on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. North Texas returns to the Super Pit to host the Hospitality Hill Challenge, round-robin tournament Nov. 23-26 featuring the Mean Green, Abilene Christian, Bethune Cookman and Grand Canyon.