JONESBORO, Ark. - The Mean Green (9-13, 8-5) won the war of attrition in Jonesboro and downed the Red Wolves 64-62 in front of a rowdy home crowd in the Convocation Center. The win tightened the gap considerably between the two teams at the top of the Sun Belt Conference West standings and North Texas ended a seven-game winning streak for Arkansas State.
Freshman Alexis Hyder poured in a career-high 23 points, and Sara Stanley recorded the fourth double-double of her career as North Texas pulled to within one game of Arkansas State on the Sun Belt West Division side.
"They played well on their home court, but I thought we kept our poise pretty well," head coach Mike Petersen said. "This is a huge win for us, there is absolutely no question about that."
A scrappy first half, which saw the Mean Green down 32-30, set the tone for this one as the two units exchanged leads nine times, and the Mean Green got nine from freshman Alexis Hyder in the first 20 minutes.
NT held a small advantage in the paint (22-16) while the Red Wolves pulled down slightly more boards (25-21).
The Convocation Center was in an uproar to end the half as tensions rose between the clashing teams. A reviewed post-whistle play that saw McKinney-native Ashley Olvera of Arkansas State and captain Laura McCoy engaged in a small exchange brought the raucous crowd to its feet as the two leaders of the SBC West went in for halftime adjustments.
The action picked up considerably in the second half with the teams trading buckets on each possession. The Mean Green finally grabbed a momentum-shifting lead on a broken play that found junior Desiree Nelson in the corner for a contested 3-pointer that she drilled to put North Texas up 44-42 with 12 minutes to play.
The trio of Nelson, Hyder and Sara Stanley continued to power the Mean Green through the next 11 minutes while coach Petersen's concentrated zone kept the Arkansas State offense from consistently being able to penetrate the paint.
In the final minute with a two-point lead, North Texas got tied up in a jump ball on an inbound that gave the Red Wolves the ball with 16 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Arkansas State threw up a short-range jumper that rattled out, and Laura McCoy secured the rebound to ice the win for the Mean Green.
"I'm extremely proud of players tonight," coach Petersen added. "We came in here, a tough facility to play in, and snapped an eight-game win streak. I think we have set the table for some really interesting games down the stretch."
North Texas women's hoops returns home for a meeting on Thursday, February 7, against Western Kentucky.