Game 23 • Thursday, February 2, 2012 • 5:00 p.m.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (16-5, 8-0 SBC)
at North Texas Mean Green (13-9, 6-3 SBC)
Denton, Texas • The Super Pit (10,500)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: None
Series Record: Middle Tennessee leads 10-6
Last Meeting: L, 63-83 (1/5/2011) at Middle Tennessee Aston Looks For 100, Godbolt Looks for 1,000 As Middle Tennessee Visits
North Texas hosts Middle Tennessee, who is ranked 8th among mid-majors and is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, and is undefeated in the Sun Belt. The Mean Green are chasing a pair of milestones in this game; Jasmine Godbolt is five points away from 1,000 in her career, and Karen Aston is one win away from her 100th as a head coach. The Mean Green are in second place in the Sun Belt West, and are 4-1 in its last five games. The Mean Green have a 7-3 home record this year, and are looking to use the Super Pit advantage to topple Blue Raiders, who have won its last seven meetings against the Mean Green. The Mean Green have not trailed in their previous two games, wiring Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• Karen Aston is one win away from her 100th as a head coach
• Jasmine Godbolt is 5 points away from becoming the 13th NT player to score 1,000 points
• North Texas is one of two teams nationally to have eight more wins than in 2010-11, giving the Mean Green Division I's best turnaround, in terms of wins, so far.
• The Mean Green defense has improved by 16.6 points, the second-most in the nation
• The Mean Green have had chances to win 21 of 22 games, coming away with 13 wins and having at least one second-half possession to tie in eight of nine other games
• Tamara Torru ranks in the Sun Belt's top 15 of 7 different statistical categories.
North Texas vs. Middle Tennessee
North Texas has dropped the last seven meetings against Middle Tennessee, and have not beat the Blue Raiders since 2005-06. Middle Tennessee has not visited Denton since the 2008-09 season. North Texas' last six losses to Middle Tennessee have been by a combined average of 40.3 points. Prior to 2004-05, North Texas owned a 5-1 lead in the all-time series.
Mean Green Working On Nation's Best Turnaround
North Texas has improved its record from 5-25 in 2010-11 to 13-9 so far this season, which is tied for the nation's biggest turnaround, in terms of wins. The Mean Green and Cal State Northridge are the two teams nationally who have won 8 more than their total from 2010-11. In terms of winning percentage, North Texas has the third-best turnaround in the nation.
Biggest Turnarounds - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Jan. 29)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (W)
1 North Texas 13-9 5-25 +8
Cal State Northridge 12-9 4-26 +8
3 William & Mary 9-11 3-26 +6
Niagara 7-15 1-29 +5
San Jose State 8-12 2-27 +5
UNLV 17-5 11-20 +5
7 IUPUI 9-13 4-24 +5
Miami (OH) 16-5 11-19 +5
Nebraska 18-3 13-18 +5
Rider 10-11 5-25 +5
Mean Green Features Nation's Second-Most Improved Defense
As of the most recent statistical report (Jan. 29), North Texas' defense is the second-most improved in the nation, improving from 73.3 points per game, which ranked 321st in the nation in 2010-11, to 63rd in the nation this year in the most recent national report, at 56.7 points per game, improving by 16.6 points, which is the largest improvement in the nation. and 259 ranks, also the most in the nation. North Texas currently has the lowest opponent scoring average in school history; NT has only held opponents to under 60 points per game in 2005-06, holding opponents to 59.7 points per game.
Biggest Defensive Improvement - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Jan. 29)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (Pts)
1 Tex.-Pan American 59.6 76.9 17.3
2 North Texas 56.7 73.3 16.6
3 Tulane 52.3 65.8 13.5
4 Washington St. 59.8 73.0 13.2
5 UTEP 52.2 65.2 13.0
6 Miami (OH) 62.7 75.0 12.3
7 South Carolina 47.5 59.6 12.1
8 Stephen F. Austin 57.6 69.6 12.0
9 San Diego 54.7 66.7 12.0
10 Fla. Atlantic 58.4 70.0 11.6
99 Problems, But Winning Isn't One
Karen Aston is one victory away from her 100th career win, sitting on 99 career victories, including a 86-47 record at Charlotte in addtion to 13 wins at North Texas. Aston would become only the second head coach to win her 100th career game while the head coach of North Texas, joining Tina Slinker.
Godbolt Five Points Away From 1,000
Jasmine Godbolt is only 5 points away from becoming only the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points, and only the 8th to do it in three or fewer seasons. Brittney James was the last NT player to hit 1,000 points, accomplishing the feat in 2009-10. Godbolt also ranks 8th at North Texas in career rebounds, and is 148 away from the school record. Godbolt has made 257 free throws for her career and is tied for 6th at North Texas, while she already ranks 3rd all-time with 483 free throw attempts.
Staying In Front
North Texas has not trailed since Jan. 21, when it fell to Denver, leading from wire-to-wire against Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State. Other than at 0-0 at the start of the game, North Texas' has not even been tied with its opponent since the Denver game. All told, North Texas has spent the last 80:00 of game time in the lead or tied at 0-0.
Since shooting 30.0% in a loss to Denver on Jan. 21, the Mean Green's worst shooting performance in conference play, North Texas has shot 45.6% from the field in its two victories since.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Mean Green's win at Louisiana-Lafayette represented the first win for the Mean Green in 2011-12 on a plane trip. The Mean Green are 5-1 on bus trips, 7-3 at home and 1-5 on plane trips.
Desiree Nelson had a career game against Louisiana-Lafayette, tying a career-highs with 16 points, six rebounds, and earning a career-high three steals. Nelson went 4-of-6 from 3-point range, making her the third Mean Green player to hit 4+ 3-pointers in one game, joining Tamara Torru (5, at Arizona) and Laura McCoy (4, at Texas; 6, WKU), and moving her to 2nd in 3FG% in league games. She played a career-high 36 minutes at the Cajundome. Prior to her 3 steals, she picked up exactly one steal in 12 of 20 games, but had not gotten multiple steals in a game.
North Texas has held opponents to 50 points or fewer eight times this season, which is the most times an opponent has been held to the half-century mark or less in school history, surpassing the mark set in both 2004-05 and 2005-06. North Texas held opponents to 50 points or fewer just three times in the span from 2008-11.
Not Hanging Ten
Against Denver, North Texas had no players score in double-digits for the first time since Dec. 18, 2005 at Texas, when Didi Wali and Sanetra Jackson co-led the team with eight points in a 69-49 loss to the Longhorns. On Jan. 21, Brittney Hudson and Sara Stanley co-led the team with eight points apiece, but it was not enough to get past the Pioneeers, as North Texas lost 50-44.
Winning The Rebound Battle
North Texas has out-rebounded its opponents 19 times this season, and has not been out-rebounded since Dec. 3 against Oregon State, the only time the Mean Green have been out-rebounded this season. Three times teams have finished with equal rebounds this season.
Hudson Beats The Buzzer At ULM
Brittney Hudson's buzzer-beater against ULM, the first buzzer-beater for North Texas since Feb. 13, 2000, sent North Texas into first place in the Sun Belt West on Jan. 15. With the game tied at 54 and 7.5 seconds remaining, Hudson, who had scored two points in the game prior to that, was able to gather the ball and hit a layup as time expired to give North Texas the victory. North Texas' last buzzer-beater came at UC Irvine on Feb. 13, 2000, as Ashley Norris hit a jumper from the free throw line to give the Mean Green a 61-59 victory. Norris, like Hudson, had only made one field goal in the game prior to making the game-winning shot.
Godbolt Named College Sports Madness SBC Player of the Week On Jan. 16
Jasmine Godbolt was named College Sports Madness Player of the Week for the Sun Belt Conference on Jan. 16, coming off two straight conference wins agianst Western Kentucky and ULM. She scored 18.0 points per game, as moved into first place in the Sun Belt West. Against ULM (Jan. 15), Godbolt tied a season-high with 20 points, reaching that plateau for the second time in three games.
North Texas hosts its 3rd-annual Play 4Kay Breast Cancer Awareness game on Feb. 15th against ULM, in association with The Kay Yow Cancer Fund . Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game.
Karen Aston and staff coached barefoot in the Jan. 28 victory against Arkansas State, in support of Samaritan's Feet. Aston raised over $1,100 for Samaritan's Feet, exceeding her goal of $1,000. The Barefoot Coaching Movement was put into practice in January 2008, IUPUI Coach Ron Hunter coached a game in his bare feet to raise awareness for the plight of impoverished children who suffer needlessly from foot-borne diseases and infections due to a lack of shoes.
The Importance Of Starting Fast
The start of the game seems to be the most important part of the game to the Mean Green, as it generally determines the outcome of the game. When the Mean Green get their first points before 17:30 of the first half, it is 11-3, with losses coming to Oral Roberts, at Arizona and Denver. However, when the Mean Green score its first points at 17:30 or later in the first half, it is 2-6. In nine games-including eight of nine losses-the Mean Green have trailed by five or more points in the first five minutes of the game.
Don't Let Me Into My Zone
Laura McCoy hit six 3-pointers against Western Kentucky on Jan. 11, which is tied for the second-most in a single game at North Texas. Sanetra Jackson was the last North Texas player to hit 6+ 3-pointers before McCoy, making six at Louisiana-Lafayette four years to the day before McCoy did, on Jan. 11, 2007. McCoy set a career-high against the Lady Toppers, pouring in 18 points.
Coming Back Strong
Jasmine Godbolt has improved her shooting, after missing a four game stretch from Dec. 17-31, and is third in the Sun Belt Conference in field goal percentage (league games only), shooting .195 better, and shooting .170 better on free throws since the injury compared to her pre-injury stats.
Category Pre-Injury Post-Injury Change
Field Goal Pct 57-146 (.390) 38-65 (.585) +.195
Free Throw Pct 33-70 (.471) 25-39 (.641) +.170
Evans' Start To Conference Play
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.
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 40-of-42 on the year in free throws, and would lead all of Division I with a percentage of 95.5%. 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 nine of her past 13 games. In that span, she has set a career-high in points three times, including 18 points against WKU. She made her first 20 free throws of the year before missing her first.
In North Texas' 13 wins this season, the Mean Green have trailed for a total of 2:39 and eight 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. Against Western Kentucky, the Mean Green trailed for 84 seconds over four offensive possesions.The Mean Green have wired their opponents in the second half a total of 10 times this season.
Starting Is Stanley's Cup Of Tea
Sara Stanley has performed well as a starter, making her first appearance in the starting lineup on Dec. 11, averaging 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in that four-game span, including a career-high 13 point performance against UALR on Dec. 28. As a reserve, Stanley averages 3.7 points and 3.2 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.
Taking Care Of Buisness
North Texas is 11-3 against teams that did not make the postseason in 2010-11, and is 2-6 against teams that did qualify for the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season. North Texas has three games remaining in league play against 2011 postseason teams; one against Sun Belt Tournament champ UALR, one against WNIT participant Denver, and one against NCAA At-Large pick Middle Tennessee.
Only In Horseshoes
Despite having nine losses on the season, North Texas has been in position to win eight of those games, having a chance to tie on one possession in the last 10 minutes in six of nine losses, and a chance to tie in the second half of eight 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
Arkansas State L ot, 64-70 3:06 (ot) 64-62 1:07 (ot) 64-66
Denver L, 44-50 18:54 22-20 7:05 30-32
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 opened its 12th season of Sun Belt Play with two consecutive wins, and was 2-0 in league play for the third time in school history, joining the 2004-05 and 2005-06 squads with 2-0 starts. North Texas started the season 2-0 in road games, their best start on the road since 2000-01.
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.
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 five times in a single game in each of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. 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 8 different categories.
Crashing The Boards
North Texas is owning the offensive glass this season, having a 40.8% offensive rebounding percentage, which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 312 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.89 points per play), and have only allowed 166 second-chance points on 267 offensive rebounds allowed (0.62 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 5th in the Sun Belt Conference and is 220th nationally with 2.1 steals/game.
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 is 6-2 in its last 8 games at the Super Pit and has won six of its last eight non-conference home games dating back to the start of 2010-11. Since 1998-99, North Texas is 109-57 in all games at The Super Pit. North Texas has its most home wins since 2007-08
NT Records At Home Since 1998-99
1998-99: 10-0 2005-06: 11-3
1999-00: 11-2 2006-07: 6-5
2000-01: 9-2 2007-08: 9-6
2001-02: 12-0 2008-09: 4-7
2002-03: 5-6 2009-10: 6-7
2003-04: 6-6 2010-11: 4-7
2004-05: 9-3 2011-12: 7-3
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 pts and 5 asts a game. Goodwin (Cypress Falls HS) was named TGCA All-State, and was the District 12-5A Offensive MVP in 2010-11. Jeter (Harker Heights HS) averaged 13.9 pts and 16 rebs her junior year, en route to being named first team all-district. Tac (Sasche HS) is one of the leading rebounders in the DFW area for 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 one remaining NT women's basketball game this season:
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.
2007-08: Won 13+ games (13), Won 7+ home games (7)
2006-07: Had a player make 6 3FG in a single game (Laura McCoy, WKU)
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)
1999-00: Won on a buzzer-beater (Brittney Hudson, ULM)
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), Held 8+ opponents to 50 or fewer points