DENTON (2/6/08) The North Texas women’s basketball team handed Western Kentucky its first conference loss of the season with a 67-64 come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green improves to 11-12 overall and 6-5 in the Sun Belt, while the Hilltoppers fall to 18-6 and 11-1 in the conference. WKU still leads the series, 6-5.
The Mean Green needed nearly eight minutes to score its first basket, but outscored the Hilltoppers 45-30 in the second half to secure the victory. Crystal Kelly scored 33 points for WKU, but the Mean Green held her to 12 points in the second half.
It was a story of two halves with WKU winning the first half but North Texas went on an 11-7 run in the final five minutes to secure the win. Brittany James scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half, including seven of NT’s final 11 points.
Erica Howard joined James in double figures with 19 points. She had a key layup in the final two minutes that put the Mean Green ahead by four, 65-61.
The Mean Green opened the second half with a 13-3 run. Howard capped the run with a three-pointer that cut the WKU lead to two points, 37-35. Lyza Koubiteb put the Mean Green within two again with a layup to make it 39-37. Koubiteb came off the bench to score eight points, one point shy of her career high.
James scored five unanswered points, including two steals that led to layups, to give North Texas its first leads of the game. The Mean Green led by as many as four points, 61-57, after James completed a three-point play with 3:09 left in the game. WKU would cut the lead to two points twice more, but James and Howard had answers to keep the Mean Green lead to four points.
North Texas started off slow, going 0-for-6 from the field in the opening eight minutes. Western Kentucky built its lead to double digits in the first half, leading by as many as 14 points twice, late in the first half. Kelly scored 21 of WKU’s 34 halftime points. NT went 9-for-34 from the field in the first half.
The situation reversed in the second half with the Mean Green shooting 63 percent from the field and WKU hitting only field goals.
North Texas returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 9 when it faces UALR on the road at 4:30 pm.