MOBILE, Ala. (2/9/02) The North Texas women’s basketball team (15-7, 9-3) had its six-game winning streak snapped Saturday night at the Mitchell Center, dropping a 66-58 decision to South Alabama (17-6, 7-4) in Sun Belt Conference play.
Jalie Mitchell poured in 14 of her team-high 16 points in the second half and Shannan Stephenson posted her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Eagles. South Alabama had three players reach double figures scoring, including a game-high 23 points from guard Joi Gopher.
Trailing 23-32 at halftime, the Lady Eagles outscored South Alabama 21-11 over the opening 7:43 of the second half to grab their first lead of the game since scoring the game’s first basket. Two lead changes and a tie later, South Alabama took the lead back for good. With the score tied 50-50 at the 8:35 mark of the second half, the Jaguars went on a 6-0 run over the next two minutes and the Lady Eagles never recovered. Mitchell scored with 6:34 left in the game to pull North Texas back within four, 56-52, but the Lady Eagles never got any closer as the Jaguars outscored them 10-6 the rest of the way.
“Their coach knew our team and what we like to do very well,” said Stephenson. “They played strong, aggressive defense and it gave us some trouble. We had some breakdowns on defense late in the game and they made us pay.”
The Lady Eagles couldn’t get much going in the first half, shooting 36 percent from the floor and scoring just 23 points. South Alabama held Jalie Mitchell, North Texas’s leading scorer, to just two points in the opening 20 minutes of action. South Alabama went up on North Texas 10-5 seven minutes into the game and held at least a five-point advantage over North Texas for the rest of the first half.
“I knew coming in they had a great team,” said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. “There is a reason they (South Alabama) have won 17 games. We just didn’t execute down the stretch and do what we needed to do to win the game.”
Neither team shot well as North Texas hit just 34 percent of its shots from the floor and South Alabama connected on 37 percent of its attempts. The Lady Eagles dominated the boards, grabbing 46 rebounds to USA’s 32, but turned the ball over 18 times in comparison to the Jaguars 10 turnovers.
The Lady Eagles return home next week for the start of a four-game home stand that will close out its regular season schedule. North Texas hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Feb. 14 in a non-conference game at the Super Pit.