Turnovers Plague Mean Green In 51-44 Loss To Arizona
North Texas Falls Short In Bid For Back-To-Back Wins Over Power 5 Opponents
DENTON — Three players scored in double figures, but North Texas was unable to close out what would have been the first home win of Jalie Mitchell’s coaching career and the second win over a Power 5 opponent in as many opportunities this season.
Arizona held North Texas to a season-low scoring output and outlasted the Mean Green by a score of 49-44 on Friday afternoon at the Super Pit. Defensively, Arizona limited North Texas to 38 percent shooting and forced 26 North Texas turnovers, a season-high for the Mean Green. The Wildcats also turned that defense into offense, scoring 24 points off the North Texas miscues.
“A couple of things stand out, looking at the stat sheet,” Mitchell said. “Our turnovers hurt us a lot today. It was the same story for us last game as well. We have to learn how to take care of the ball better because you miss out on some opportunities to score and put points on the board when you don’t take care of the ball. And then free throws. We had 16 opportunities and only took advantage of seven. That’s huge. You miss nine and lose by seven.”
For North Texas (1-3), junior guard Candice Adams led the way with 12 points, followed by fellow junior guards Terra Ellison and Kelsey Criner who finished with 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Senior forward Acheil Tac also finished two points shy of her second double-double of the season, scoring eight points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the contest.
Sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers by Adams to start the game, North Texas took a 13-5 lead into the media timeout of the first quarter with 4:39 left. The Mean Green led for 27:17 of the game and did not trail until the 9:29 mark in the fourth quarter.
Arizona (4-1) chipped away at the North Texas lead in the second and third quarters, after trailing 18-11 heading to the second frame. In a third quarter that featured a combined 12 points, 5-of-18 shooting and 15 turnovers, Arizona battled back to tie the game at 28-28 with 6:55 left, and the teams went to the fourth quarter tied at 32-32.
The Wildcats then grabbed their first lead of the game, a 34-32 advantage, as part of a 10-0 run on a layup by junior forward Breanna Workman with 9:29 left in the game.
Arizona took its largest lead of the game, 43-35, with 3:38 left after a 5-0 run, all the points courtesy of Workman, who finished with 13 points. North Texas pulled to within four at 47-43 with 1:15 left on a banked-in 3-pointer by senior guard Kasiney Williams, but that was as close as the Mean Green would get the rest of the way.
“We fight,” Mitchell said. “We had some things that didn’t go our way, as far as shots falling and turnovers, and got down a little bit, but I’m proud that we kept fighting”
Up Next For North Texas
The Mean Green continues its four-game home stand, hosting SMU on Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT. They close the home stand with matchups against Weber State (Friday, Dec. 4) and IUPUI (Saturday, Dec. 5) later in the week as part of the Hospitality Hill Challenge.
• North Texas fell just short of defeating Power 5 opponents in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2011-12 season, when they defeated Oregon State and Alabama in early December
• North Texas moves to 2-6 all-time against Pac-12 opponents, including an 0-4 mark against Arizona, last defeating a team from the league during the 2011-12 season, when they defeated Oregon State on Dec. 12
• For the first time this season, North Texas lost when leading at the half (28-24)
• North Texas has played three games decided by five points or fewer, posting a 1-2 record in those games, through four games this season
• North Texas did not trail until the 9:29 mark in the fourth quarter
• Kelsey Criner tied her career high, scoring 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting
• Terra Ellison, the Mean Green’s leading scorer, scored in double figures for the third time in four games this season