Women's Basketball Stuns No. 17 Oklahoma
North Texas Pulls Off First-Ever Win Over Ranked Opponent
North Texas pulled off the upset over the #17 Oklahoma Sooners on Monday. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
NORMAN, Okla. - In the 1,096-game history of North Texas women's basketball, no squad had ever trumped a top-25 opponent. That is, until the Mean Green rolled into the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday night.
North Texas never trailed and seemed to have all the right answers for the No. 17 Oklahoma Sooners, as the team took a 61-57 win to earn the biggest upset victory in the program's history.
"It's hard to contain myself right here," an emotional Jalie Mitchell said moments after the win. "I'm so proud of our young ladies. They were extremely resilient tonight and gave me everything they had."
Defense, especially on the interior, was key in what turned out to be a low-scoring game from Norman, Oklahoma. From the onset, North Texas honed in on All-Big 12 Second Team selection Kaylon Williams. The 6-3 redshirt senior made only 20 percent of her shots on the night and her failed attempts early in the game allowed the Mean Green to get off to a seven-point lead before the Sooners put points on the board.
North Texas (1-1) kept its foot on the pedal throughout the game, but - as can happen with only nine bodies to play - Mean Green fouls started to take their toll.
Still holding onto a slim lead, North Texas found itself without each of its lengthy post players in the fourth quarter as Acheil Tac, Bria Frierson and Tosin Mabodu all took a seat on the bench with five fouls.
From there, it was up to a small North Texas lineup to close out the game against the height of a Big 12 opponent. Luckily for the Mean Green, junior Terra Ellison wasn't going anywhere. The Colony, Texas, native poured in 15 points on Monday night, leading the team and consistently responding to a Sooner offense that continued to creep its way back into the game.
But the defining moment of the contest came with only 30 seconds remaining in regulation, when junior Kelsey Criner shimmied her way through the lane to bank home a left-handed layup, breaking a 57-57 tie and giving the lead back to the Mean Green. She then added a quick steal and got herself to the free throw line, where she virtually sealed the upset by pushing the lead to four points with only three seconds to play.
"I couldn't have drawn up a better start or finish for our girls," Mitchell said of her group's fight. "It was a team effort, we needed all nine people and they gave us everything they had."
All in all, Monday's victory was a fitting way for the best player to ever suit up for the Mean Green to earn her first victory as head coach.
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green will close out its two-game road swing at Texas State next weekend. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, from San Marcos.
• Four players end the night in double figures: Teadra Jones (11 points), Acheil Tac (12), Criner (10) and Ellison (15)
• Criner had a monster game at point guard, doing a little bit of everything. She finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
• Monday's game was only the second loss that Oklahoma has suffered on its home court since the start of the 2013-14 season.
• Junior Candice Adams made her 50th career start on Monday, while sophomore Bria Frierson made her first.