LAFAYETTE, La. – A career-high tying 16 points from Desiree Nelson helped the North Texas women’s basketball team hold serve in the Sun Belt West Division and head coach Karen Aston step closer to the century mark in career victories as the Mean Green rolled to a 66-45 road win at the Cajundome.
The Mean Green (12-9, 5-3 Sun Belt) entered the day a game out of first place in the West Division, and remains within striking distance of UALR and Denver. The win is North Texas’ first in Lafayette, La., since 2008 – its last appearance in the Cajundome, the second home of the Ragin’ Cajuns women’s team.
Aston, in her first season at the helm at North Texas, picked up career win No. 98 on Wednesday after going 86-47 in four seasons at Charlotte. She has guided North Texas to the biggest turnaround in the NCAA this season.
A wire-to-wire win, Tamara Torru buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Mean Green a quick 5-0 edge. The senior, who finished with 14 points, hit a layup moments later that extended the lead to 9-1.
North Texas’ defense forced the Ragin’ Cajuns (5-15, 0-8 SBC) to miss nine of their first 10 shots, and held ULL to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half, including 0-of-6 from deep. NT entered the halftime break on top 43-34.
The Ragin’ Cajuns cut the Mean Green lead to 32-30 with 17 minutes remaining in the game, but buckets from Kasondra Foreman and Jasmine Godbolt pushed the NT advantage back to five just four minutes later.
Nelson gave the Mean Green some breathing room with a 3-pointer with just under nine minutes remaining that pushed the lead to a comfortable 49-37 edge. On top of leading the Mean Green in scoring, Nelson also notched a career high with three steals.
NT led by as many as 19 in the second half thanks to 48.0 percent shooting in the frame.
North Texas returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Arkansas State at the Super Pit. Aston and the Mean Green coaching staff will be barefoot for the game in support of Samaritan’s Feet, a charity organization that supplies shoes to impoverished children all over the world. Fans can text the word “shoes” to 85944 to give a one-time $10 gift to Samaritan’s Feet.