DENTON (1/4/02) -- Junior forward Emily Britt poured in a career-high 20 points and junior guard Heather Trout reached career highs in assists and steals to lead the North Texas Lady Eagles to a 64-47 upset victory over defending Sun Belt Conference champion Florida International in both teams' league opener on Saturday at the Super Pit.
The win for the Lady Eagles (5-6, 1-0) stopped a four-game losing streak and marked the first time in four meetings with the Golden Panthers (9-5, 0-1) that North Texas has defeated FIU. The win also was the third consecutive Sun Belt Conference opener that the Lady Eagles have won since North Texas joined the league.
"I thought our overall team defense was good today," said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. "We took away their post play and that was critical. I told the kids I thought we might be catching FIU at the right time. They had a starter out and were playing on the road."
In getting to play FIU in Denton for the first time in the series, the Lady Eagles were able to battle to a 36-31 halftime lead before opening things up in the second half with a 11-2 run midway through the final period. A lay-up by Britt with 4:12 left in the game gave the Lady Eagles their largest lead in the game at 20 points, 61-41.
"This was a big win for our program," said Trout, who had a career-high nine assists and five steals to go with seven points and four rebounds. "We had never beaten FIU before. Myself and the other upper classmen have been looking to defeat this team for three years."
Britt scored 12 of her career-best 20 points in the first half and wound up hitting nine of 15 field goals for the game. She also ended with five rebounds and two of the Lady Eagles' three blocks. Also in double figures for North Texas were senior center Vilma Grismanauskaite with a season-high 11 points and freshman point guard Erika Bob with 10.
"I am starting to get my confidence back and it showed some today," said Britt, whose previous high game was a 13-point effort against Illinois in December. "I think playing as tough a non-conference schedule as we did is only going to help us. FUI plays a similar style to what LSU (UNT's opponent last Thursday) does, so that helped us prepare for today's game."
North Texas faces its third opponent in six days on Tuesday at the Super Pit when the Lady Eagles are scheduled to host Weber State in a 7 p.m. game.