Women Come Up Big Down Stretch To Beat La Salle, 69-63
Three Players Score In Double Figures To Fuel North Texas Win
Senior Acheil Tac had 21 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday's win over La Salle. (Picture by Rick Yeatts)
PHILADELPHIA — After falling flat three days ago, the Mean Green women’s basketball team needed a big output from its offense in a matchup against La Salle. That’s exactly what North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell got, as the team put together its best scoring output of the season en route to a 69-63 win on Wednesday evening.
Acheil Tac had 21 points and 11 rebounds to earn her third double-double of the year, leading a North Texas team that had three players in double digits. Tac’s strong performance was especially crucial after failing to muster even a point in Sunday’s loss at Iona.
“I thought [Acheil] was focused and ready to make a difference today,” Mitchell said. “I don’t think she was happy with her last outing at all. She had a point to prove and did that tonight.”
Tac may have been the headline, but the Garland, Texas, native wasn’t the only Mean Green player that came to play. Juniors Terra Ellison and Teadra Jones each closed in on double-doubles of their own; Ellison finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds while Jones dropped 16 points to go along with nine boards.
North Texas shot only 37 percent on the day but gave itself plenty of opportunities for baskets thanks to a strong effort on the glass. The Mean Green dominated the game in the rebounding category, ultimately outnumbering the Explorers 50-27 on the boards.
“Rebounding was huge,” Mitchell added after the game. “You give yourself a great chance of winning when you can own the glass like we did tonight. We’ve been talking about rebounding and how we want to stack up in that category. I’m really pleased with the team on that note.”
Despite a dominant offensive display, the win wasn’t decided until the final moments of Wednesday’s matchup. North Texas went 17-of-17 from the charity stripe in the final 13:47 of play, ultimately deciding a game that was separated by only six points. Six of those free throws came in the last 1:05 of regulation, as a slim 63-61 lead for the Mean Green grew thanks to six made free throws in those final 65 seconds.
Like usual, starting juniors Kelsey Criner and Candice Adams found a way to make their mark on the game. Criner had a career-best 10 rebounds - all in the first half - and added six points, six assists and two steals on the day. Adams was hampered by foul trouble for the duration of Wednesday’s game, but the guard still found a way to knock down pivotal three-pointers in what turned out to be a close game.
North Texas now revisits the idea of stringing wins together for the first time this year. With two contests to go until conference play begins on New Year’s Day, the Mean Green skipper is looking forward to the chance that lies ahead.
“We still haven’t gotten the back-to-back win thing down, but we’ve got another opportunity,” Mitchell said. “We’ll be on the road so we’ve got to bring the same hustle, energy and rebounding. We’ve got to bring it.”
Next Up For The Mean Green
North Texas closes out it’s three-game road stretch against Incarnate Word. The matinee matchup is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, from San Antonio.
• Overall, eight of the team’s 10 players scored.
• The 30 points scored by NT in the fourth quarter is the highest total for a single frame this year.
• The win was the first time that a North Texas team had 50 or more rebounds in a game since a matchup against Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 24, 2013.
• Just nine games into the season, the Mean Green are a win away from tying last season’s win total.
• Senior Teadra Jones tied a career high with 16 points in Wednesday’s matchup.
• The win over the Explorers was good for the team’s second win away from the Super Pit in 2015-16, bypassing NT’s road win total from a year ago.