Mean Green Overcome Slow Start In Win Over TAMIU
Buckner Tallies Career-High 20 Points
DENTON - A second-half surge led the North Texas women's basketball team to a 64-38 win over Texas A&M International on Tuesday at the Super Pit. The Mean Green scored 37 points in the second half on 57 percent shooting after putting up just 27 points with eight turnovers in the first half.
"In a nutshell, I said, 'that's not us'," North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell said. "We needed to play UNT basketball. The first half wasn't it, so that changed everyone's minds."
Redshirt junior post Micayla Buckner led the team with a career-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and recorded nine rebounds and three blocks, which tied a career high. Junior guard Grace Goodhart added three assists and four steals, both team highs, and nine points.
"It was fun with my teammates cheering me on from the bench," Buckner said.
Turnovers marred the Dustdevils in the opening quarter, allowing the Mean Green to score eight of their 17 points off TAMIU mishaps. After the Dustdevils hit four-of-five from the field to go ahead, 10-9, North Texas went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead. TAMIU scored five straight to draw the score even at 15-15, and a Bradley jumper in the closing seconds gave the Mean Green a slim lead.
"We talked all week about how TAMIU doesn't like ball pressure and part of our game plan was to speed them up and turn the ball over," Goodhart said.
Both teams struggled from the field in the second quarter, each shooting below 20 percent. The Dustdevils erased the North Texas lead with six straight points, but a Goodhart three-pointer capped a 6-0 run for the Mean Green to regain the lead at 22-21. Buckner scored the team's final three points, giving North Texas a 27-25 advantage at halftime.
"We were getting the ball to the paint, but we weren't finishing," Mitchell said. "We came out of halftime with a lot more focus and concentration to make sure we were getting those buckets."
Out of the break, Buckner picked up right where she left off with two quick field goals to orchestrate a 6-0 run that gave North Texas a 33-25 lead. Buckner, who finished with eight points in the third stanza, converted on a pair of layups to extend the lead to 39-29. The Mean Green's defense shone in the quarter, holding TAMIU without a field goal over the last seven minutes.
"I knew we needed a spark after the first half we had, and somebody had to put the team on their back," Buckner said.
North Texas' shooters emerged in the final 10 minutes, beginning the quarter 8-of-10 from the field as the Mean Green built a 58-36 lead. UNT finished the game on a 10-2 run, led by six points from freshman forward Deja Terrell to put away the Dustdevils. Terrell finished the game with seven points and seven rebounds.
"That post presence is huge," Mitchell said. "That's something that was up and down for us last year, and we need it to be consistent this year."
North Texas closes out a three-game homestand to begin the season against Kansas State at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Super Pit.
- Tuesday marked the first collegiate start for Trena Mims, who finished with eight points, three rebounds and two steals.
- Goodhart tied a career high with nine points in the win.
- The Mean Green recorded 44 of their 64 points in the paint, opposite of TAMIU's two.
- Lauren Holmes followed up her dazzling debut with eight points and five rebounds Tuesday.
- The Dustdevils went nearly 11 minutes without a field goal from 7:17 remaining in the third quarter to 6:46 in the fourth.