MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Brittney Hudson and the North Texas women's basketball team went toe-to-toe with the defending Sun Belt champs, but in the end Middle Tennessee was too sharp in an 83-63 loss at the Murphy Center.
North Texas (3-13, 0-3 Sun Belt) led for most of the opening half - by as many as seven points - but a 15-4 Middle Tennessee (10-4, 1-0 Sun Belt) run midway through the second put the game out of reach.
Hudson was simply unstoppable in her finest performance in a Mean Green uniform. The junior tallied a career-best 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Denetra Kellum also tallied 20 points.
Kortni Jones led the Blue Raiders with 23 points, while Ebony Rowe tallied her fifth straight double-double with 15 points and 21 rebounds.
North Texas brought the intensity from the tip, and forced turnovers on both of MTSU's opening two possessions. Kellum rode a fast break layup for a 2-0 Mean Green lead, and Hudson extended it to 7-2 with a pair of 3-pointers, one from the left baseline and the next from the right.
The Mean Green's relentless defense forced five Blue Raider turnovers in the opening four minutes of the game, the last of which led to a Jasmine Godbolt layup and a 9-2 NT lead.
The NT defensive would go on to force 23 MTSU turnovers and race to 31 points off of them.
MTSU found itself in the bonus less than six minutes into the game thanks to early foul trouble for the Mean Green. Anne Marie Lanning tied the game at 10-apiece with a 3-pointer from the right wing, and gave MTSU its first lead with a pair of free throws just moments later.
Hudson gave NT the lead again at 18-17 with nine minutes remaining in the half thanks to a steal in lane and a fast-break layup in the other direction. Ash'Lynne Evans stunned the MTSU crowd by extending the Mean Green lead to 30-24 with four-minutes remaining in the opening half.
NT would lead by as many as seven late in the first, and went into the break with a 36-35 lead. NT shot 50 percent from the floor and turned 12 MTSU turnovers into 17 points.