Game 17 • Saturday, January 7, 2012 • 3:05 p.m.
North Texas Mean Green (9-7, 2-1 Sun Belt) at
Arkansas State Red Wolves (5-10, 0-3 Sun Belt)
Jonesboro, Ark. • Convocation Center (10,727)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: None
Series Record: Arkansas State leads 19-8
Last Meeting: L, 50-71 (2/23/11) at Arkansas State
Mean Green Take On Arkansas State In West Division Battle
North Texas, co-leaders of the Sun Belt West, looks to jump to 3-1 in league play for the first time since 2004-05 against Arkansas State. The Mean Green have been led in league play by Ash'Lynne Evans, who is averaging 17.7 points over three games, and has posted the three highest scoring totals of her career in the first three league games.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• North Texas is looking for its first 3-1 conference start since 2004-05
• North Texas is one of three teams nationally to have four more wins than in 2010-11, giving the Mean Green Division I's second-best turnaround, in terms of wins, so far.
• The Mean Green defense has improved by 15.8 points, the most in the nation
• Laura McCoy would lead Division I with a free-throw percentage of .950, if she qualified (needs five FTM vs. ASU to qualify)
• The Mean Green's RPI is 107th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference
• The Mean Green have had chances to win 15 of 16 games, coming away with 9 wins and having at least one second-half possession to tie in six of seven games
• Tamara Torru ranks in the Sun Belt's top 15 of 10 different statistical categories.
North Texas vs. Arkansas State
North Texas trails the all-time series with Arkansas State 8-19. The Red Wolves won the last meeting over the Mean Green 71-50 and have won seven of the previous eight games. The Mean Green has not defeated Arkansas State since the 2008-09 season, topping the Red Wolves 80-74 in the first round of the SBC Tournament. The programs first met on February 2, 1983.
Mean Green Working On Nation's Best Turnaround
North Texas has improved its record from 5-25 in 2010-11 to 9-7 so far this season, which is tied for the nation's second biggest turnaround, in terms of wins. The Mean Green. William and Mary and Rider are the three teams nationally who have won four more than their total from 20010-11.
Biggest Turnarounds - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Jan. 6)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (W)
1 William & Mary 8-5 3-26 +5
2 North Texas 9-7 5-25 +4
Rider 9-4 5-25 +4
4 Cal State Northridge 7-7 4-26 +3
Sacramento State 7-8 4-25 +3
Niagara 4-10 1-29 +3
San Jose State 5-10 2-27 +3
8 A&M-Corpus Christi 4-9 2-27 +2
IUPUI 6-9 4-24 +2
Mean Green Features Nation's Most Improved Defense
North Texas' defense is the most-improved in the nation, improving from 73.3 points per game, which ranked 321st in the nation in 2010-11, to 88th in the nation this year in the most recent national report, at 57.5 points per game, improving by 15.8 points, which is the largest improvement in the nation. and 233 ranks, the fourth-most in the nation. North Texas currently has the lowest opponent scoring average in school history; North Texas has only held opponents to under 60 points per game in a season once, in 2005-06, holding opponents to 59.7 points per game.
Biggest Defensive Improvement - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Jan. 1)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (Pts)
1 North Texas 57.5 73.3 15.7
2 East Carolina 53.8 69.1 15.3
Tulane 50.5 65.8 15.3
4 Virginia 49.3 64.5 15.2
5 South Carolina 44.6 59.6 15.1
6 Wofford 55.8 70.7 14.9
Texas 53.6 68.5 14.9
8 UTEP 51.0 65.2 14.2
9 Rider 55.0 68.7 13.7
Washington St. 59.3 73.0 13.7
Mean Green Look For Historic Conference Start
With a win, North Texas would start 3-1 in the Sun Belt for the first time since 2004-05, and would have only the third 3-1 start in any conference in program history. The Mean Green started 3-1 in Sun Belt play in 2004-05 and 2001-02 and in the Southland in 1985-86. The 3-1 starts have foreshadowed good things to come, North Texas never has finished lower than second in its division after a 3-1 start, and in two of those years (1986, 2002) made a national postseason tournament--and played Washington in Seattle both times.
Ash'Lynne Evans three games of 17 or more points to start league play is the first string of three games where any Mean Green player has scored 17+ points in three games since Denetra Kellum scored 17+ on Feb. 3, Feb. 17, and Feb. 19 in 2010-11.
Unbuckling The Belt With Ease
North Texas opened its 12th season of Sun Belt Play with two consecutive wins, and is 2-0 in league play for the third time in school history, joining the 2004-05 and 2005-06 squads with 2-0 starts.
Evans Aiming For That No. 1 Spot
Ash'Lynne Evans had the three most prolific scoring nights of her career to start Sun Belt play, and finds herself second in scoring in Sun Belt league games with 17.7 points per game. Evans set her career-high with 18 points against UALR on Dec. 28, then tied that mark with 18 more points, including eight of North Texas' points during a 14-0 run to open the game, against Troy on Dec. 31. She followed up that effort with 17 points at South Alabama on Jan. 4. Evans is North Texas' most effective player, in terms of +/-, leading the team with a +7.88 rating per 40 minutes.
Tailor-Made Victory Over Troy
North Texas had its best defensive performance of the season against Troy on Dec. 31, winning 57-36. North Texas started the game on a 14-0 and 21-1 run, its best opening run of the season, at its largest run at any point of any game this year. The Mean Green held Troy to opponent season-lows in points (36), field-goal percentage (19.6%), field goals made (10), and points at halftime (13). The 36 points allowed are the fewest allowed by the Mean Green since Feb. 25, 2006.
FTs Falling For McCoy
Laura McCoy is 38-of-40 on the year in free throws, and would lead all of Division I with a percentage of 95.0%, but is two free throws short of qualifying for the national leaderboard. She led Division I in Free Throw Percentage from Dec. 11 until Jan. 1, when she fell out of the statistical report. Opponents have been reluctant to foul McCoy, as she has not gone to the line in five of her past seven games. In that span, she has twice scored a career-high 14 points. She made her first 20 free throws of the year before missing her first.
In North Texas' nine wins this season, the Mean Green have trailed for a total of 73 seconds and four possesions combined in the second half. North Texas had three deficits of 1 point to overcome for a total of 58 seconds early in the second half against SMU on Nov. 22, and trailed by a point for 15 seconds and one possession from 18:28 to 18:08 of the second half against Alabama on Dec. 9. The Mean Green have wired their opponents in the second half a total of seven times this season.
Starting Is Stanley's Cup Of Tea
Sara Stanley has performed well since being inserted into the starting lineup on Dec. 11, averaging 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in that four-game span, including a career-high 13 point performance against UALR on Dec. 28. As a reserve, Stanley averages 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Nearing A Triple Double
Tamara Torru sniffed a triple-double against UALR on Dec. 28, coming three assists and three rebounds short of North Texas' first-ever triple double. Her seven assists were the most by a North Texas player since Dec. 13, 2010, and a personal career-high. Additionally, Torru came two steals and four blocks of a 5x5, which also would have been a North Texas first.
Only In Horseshoes
Despite having six losses on the season, North Texas has been in position to win six of those games, having a chance to tie on one possession in the last 10 minutes in four of seven losses, and a chance to tie in the second half of six of the losses.
Latest Lead Latest Poss. to Tie
Game Result Time Score Time Score
Oral Roberts L, 60-67 12:17 42-41 11:39 42-45
Arizona L, 62-69 16:24 (1st) 4-3 2:46 61-66 (Tech FT + Poss.)
Tulane L, 47-55 8:16 (1st) 15-14 17:50 28-30
Missouri State L, 67-78 None 3:13 63-66
Texas L, 61-72 8:13 52-50 7:15 52-54
Nicholls St. L ot, 64-67 4:25 52-51 0:00 (ot) 64-67
South Alabama L, 60-69 None 17:39 (1st) 0-2
The Eyes Of Texas
North Texas nearly shocked the state, before running out of steam and falling 71-62 to No. 24 Texas on Dec. 17. North Texas used an 18-6 run to take a 34-25 halftime lead over the Longhorns, and led by as many as 13 and led until 8:13 of the second half, before running out of steam and seeing Texas come back to win the game. North Texas, playing short-handed, only used eight players in the game. North Texas has never beaten a ranked team, and had not led Texas at any point in the game since 2005-06 before playing with the ‘Horns for 32 minutes on Dec. 17.
Taking Care Of Buisness
North Texas is 7-2 against teams that did not make the postseason in 2010-11, and is 2-5 against teams that did qualify for the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season. North Texas has four games remaining in league play against 2011 postseason teams; one against Sun Belt Tournament champ UALR, two against WNIT participant Denver, and one against NCAA At-Large pick Middle Tennessee.
Mean Green Ranked Among Mid-Majors
North Texas was ranked 45th and recieved votes for the fifth straight week in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 poll released on Dec. 20. The Mean Green have a total of three games scheduled against teams in the poll, having lost 78-67 to No. 11 Missouri State, lost 70-60 to No. 20 Oral Roberts, and has a game remaining against No. 13 Middle Tennessee.
Tam Can Do It All
Tamara Torru has been an all-around contributor for the Mean Green, being the only player who has led the team at least once in a single game in each of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and has led in each category five times or more. In fact, she is the only North Texas player this season to have games of 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists, 2+ blocks, and 3+ steals. She ranks in the top 15 of the Sun Belt in 10 different categories.
Torru Draining The Three
Tamara Torru has made 19 3-pointers this season, and is now tied for 10th in career 3-pointers made. From Nov. 22 to Dec. 3, she went 12-of-19 (.632) from distance, as the Mean Green went 4-1 in that span. She needs 9 3-pointers to move into 9th place
Mean Green Win Gene Hackerman Invitational
North Texas won two games at Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse on Dec. 2-3 to take home the Gene Hackerman Invitational title, North Texas' first regular season tournament title since the Southwest Texas CenturyTel Classic in 2002-03. Jasmine Godbolt was named tournament MVP with 15.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds, and Tamara Torru was named to the all-tournament team with 9.0 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Mean Green Started Fast
At 7-2, North Texas had its best nine-game start since 2005-06, which ties for the second-best start in school history through nine games, with Karen Aston taking over the reins of the program. Aston joined Tina Slinker as the only two coaches in North Texas program history to win a debut game, with a 66-47 road win, and joins Slinker as the only coaches to start their North Texas career 4-1. North Texas started the season 2-0 in road games, their best start on the road since 2000-01. The Mean Green allowed 256 points in its first five games, the fewest amount of points allowed through five games in program history.
Crashing The Boards
North Texas is owning the offensive glass this season, having a 41.2% offensive rebounding percentage (275 offensive rebounds, 393 defensive rebounds allowed), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 241 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.88 points per play), and have only allowed 121 second-chance points on 197 offensive rebounds allowed (0.61 points per play).
Hudson Steals The Show
Brittney Hudson tied a North Texas single-game record with nine steals against Tulane on Dec. 9, putting her atop the single-game leaderboard with Regina Woods, who has 9 steals against Texas State on Feb. 20, 1985. She is third Sun Belt Conference and is 103rd nationally with 2.5 steals per game. She is on pace to get 72 steals this season, which would be just 20 off the North Texas record.
North Texas has held opponents to 50 points or fewer five times this season, which is the most times an opponent has been held to the half-century mark or less since 2005-06. North Texas held opponents to 50 points or fewer just three times in the span from 2008-11. North Texas held its opponents to 50 or less seven times in both 2004-05 and 2005-06, which is the school record.
Torru Named Sun Belt Player of the Week on Nov. 29
Tamara Torru was named Sun Belt Player of the Week by both the league's coaches and College Sports Madness on Nov. 29. She scored 20+ points in back-to-back games for the first time in her career, scoring 22 at Texas State on Nov. 25 before setting a career-high with 26 at Arizona on Nov. 28. At Texas State, she scored North Texas' first eight points, helping the Mean Green to a 8-3 lead to start the game, and helping the Mean Green to a 61-43 victory. At Arizona, she poured in a career-high 26, while earning her second double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.
It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish
Despite going without a point for the first 9:32 of the game, and digging a 9-0 deficit, North Texas came back to beat SMU 50-46 on Nov. 22. The win is the biggest comeback victory for North Texas since it overcame a 13 point deficit to beat Nicholls State on Dec. 13, 2010. North Texas first took the lead in the game at 19:25 of the second half, when Laura McCoy made a 3-pointer to go up 23-22.
Bolting Into The Record Books
Jasmine Godbolt has a chance to enter the record books in numerous offensive categories. Godbolt is only 94 points away from becoming only the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points. She ranks 8th at North Texas in career rebounds, and is 174 away from the school record. Godbolt has made 234 free throws for her career and is tied for 9th at North Texas, while she already ranks fifth all-time with 438 free throw attempts.
Hot Hoops In Hot Springs
For the fourth consecutive season, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be held in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Summit Arena & Convention Center. The format features all 12 teams going to Hot Springs. The top two teams from each division will earn byes into the quarterfinals. The women's tournament will be held from March 3-6. North Texas' Coaches Show is on the day preceding the tournament, March 2, from Lucky's in Hot Springs.
The Super Pit Is It
The Mean Green won four of its last five games this season at the Super Pit and six of its last eight non-conference home games dating back to the start of 2010-11. Since 1998-99, North Texas is 106-56 (.654) in all games at The Super Pit.
NT Records At Home Since 1998-99
Mean Green Voted Fifth
North Texas recieved one first place vote and was picked to finish fifth in the West Division in the preseason coaches poll. Denver was picked to finish first in the West, and Middle Tennessee was picked to win the East division.
2011-12 Sun Belt Preseason Poll
West Division Points East Division Points
1. Denver 62 (6) 1. Middle Tennessee 68 (9)
2. Arkansas State 56 (1) 2. FIU 58 (1)
3. UALR 53 (3) 3. Western Kentucky 48 (1)
4. Louisiana-Monroe 29 4. South Alabama 38
5. North Texas 28 (1) 5. Florida Atlantic 23 (1)
6. Louisiana-Lafayette 24 (1) 6. Troy 17
North Texas Inks Five
North Texas signed five players in the early signing period, including two guards, Briana Brooks and Loryn Goodwin, and three forwards in Eboniey Jeter, I'Tiana Taylor and Acheil Tac. Brooks (Tyler Robert E. Lee HS), was named first-team all-district in her junior year, posting 15.5 points and five assists per game. Goodwin (Cypress Falls HS) was named was named TGCA All-State and TBCA All-Region, All-Super Centex team, and was the District 12-5A Offensive MVP in 2010-11. Jeter (Harker Heights HS) averaged 13.9 points and 16 rebounds a year her junior year, en route to being named first team all-district. Tac (Sasche HS) is one of the leading rebounders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a forward and was named All-District 10-5A in 2011. Taylor (Pflugerville HS) ranks as the 52nd best power forward in the country by Dan Olsen Girls Basketball Report.
North Texas On The Tube
The Sun Belt Network televises three NT women's basketball conference games this season:
Jan. 15 at ULM (SBN) 2 p.m.
Jan. 28 Arkansas St. (SBN) 7 p.m.
Feb. 18 La.-Lafayette (SBN) 1 p.m.
North Texas is having one of its best seasons in recent memory. Below are selected accomplishments that the 2011-12 team has achieved for the first time in a while. The accomplishment for the 2011-12 is in parenthesis.
2009-10: Won 6+ games (8)
2005-06: Started 7-2, Winning non-conference season (7-5), Season-opening double-double (Tamara Torru, 13 pts, 12 reb), Held opponents to 60 points or less over a season (in progress), defeated the defending SBC Tournament Champion (UALR), Started 2-0 in Sun Belt play, Held an opponent to under 40 points (Troy)
2003-04: Had a player shoot over .900 on FTs for the season (Laura McCoy, in progress)
2002-03: Won a regular-season tournament (Gene Hackerman Invitational)
1989-90: Head coach won a debut game (Karen Aston, UT Arlington)
1988-89: Defeated a Pac-12 team (Oregon State)
1984-85: Had a player with 9 steals in a single game (Brittney Hudson, Tulane)
First: Win vs. SEC team (Alabama), Win vs. Mountain West team (New Mexico)