BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (1/31/09) The North Texas women’s basketball team couldn’t contain a 23-3 Western Kentucky second half run, falling to the Lady Toppers 80-66 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
North Texas took a 40-34 lead into the halftime break, but It only took four minutes for the Lady Toppers to erase the deficit and claw out a 48-42 advantage of their own. Arnika Brown did the most damage for WKU, pouring in 19 points and 13 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. She led WKU to a 48-24 advantage in points in the paint.
Nearly matching the All-American’s effort was the combo of Amber Jackson and Brittney James. Jackson, a senior, snagged her 12th double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 boards, and James notched a team-best 21 points.
As a team, the Mean Green struggled shooting, especially in the second half. NT was 20-of-65 (30.8 percent) for the game, but shot just 24.1 percent in the closing half.
Tricia Lee and the Mean Green stunned the crowd out of the gate when the senior nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to put North Texas up 11-6 with just under 15 minutes left in the first.
The Mean Green padded that lead by getting the free throw line early and often. NT made 11 of its first 12 free throws in the games’ first eight minutes to go up 20-12. The squad was 13-of-17 from the line in the half, and 24-of-35 (68.6 percent) for the game.
NT mixed up its zone and man coverage intermittently and frustrated the Hilltoppers. The Mean Green forced 13 WKU turnovers in the first, just under their season average of 16.6 per game. WKU had 23 giveaways overall in the contest.
Brown and the Hilltoppers seemed to wake up late in the half with a run of their own. The sophomore All-American had 17 points and eight rebounds at the break, but a late Jo Hall 15-foot jumper sent NT into the half with a 40-34 lead.
James carved the WKU defense with 15 points at the half on 5-of-9 shooting.
North Texas returns to action on Feb. 4 at South Alabama. Action from the Mitchell Center tips off at 7 p.m., and can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network.