DENTON, Texas - It was all drama Wednesday night at the Super Pit.
With sole possession of third place in the Sun Belt's West Division at stake and the Sun Belt Tournament fast approaching, the North Texas women scored with two seconds to play to force overtime and opened a four point lead in overtime, but lef the lead slip away in the final minute and lost,70-67, to Louisiana-Monroe.
The Mean Green saw their record slip to .500 for the first time this season at 13-13, and their record in league play dipped to 6-7, while the Warhawks (9-17, 7-6) pulled a game ahead of North Texas in the West Division.
For North Texas, the loss was marked by missed opportunities. The Mean Green settled for one-of-two free throws repeatedly down the stretch and shot just 57 percent from the line for the game, and were plagued by turnovers at critical moments.
"This is a real tough one," coach Karen Aston said. "We did play harder tonight, but the bottom line is we didn't handle the ball and manage the game.
"It was our turnovers, our lack of decision making that cost us the game."
North Texas trailed by one in the closing two minutes of regulation at 61-60 but turned the ball over on back to back possessions. ULM hit one of two free throws with 13 seconds left, and Desiree Nelson forced overtime with a baseline drive and layup with two seconds to play. It was her first two points of the night.
Nelson then started the overtime scoring with a pair of free throws and North Texas went up 66-62, a lead they nursed into the final minute. But Alexar Tugler hit a three-point shot to pull the Warhawks within one, then hit from almost the same spot to put ULM in front for good. The Mean Green again had chances in the closing 29 seconds, but missed a free throw that would have tied the game, turned the ball over one last time, then missed a three-point shot that would have tied it.
After a low-energy first half, the teams picked up the pace in the second 20 minutes and exchanged dramatic momentum shifts. One scoring run was answered with another, the lead changed hands, and the play grew more physical.
Both teams moved the ball well in the first half and created good scoring opportunities, with much of the attention focused on getting into the paint, but both teams were inconsistent with their shooting. Neither team could build any momentum and the longest scoring run of the first 18 minutes was a brief 5-0 run by ULM late in the half.
That was enough to open a half's biggest lead at seven points, 25-18 with 2:22 before halftime, but the Mean Green's Jasmine Godbolt responded with a 6-0 run of her own to pull North Texas within one at intermission, 25-24. Godbolt finished the half with eight points and Tamara Torru had nine for North Texas, hitting five of six free throws. Godbolt and Torru finshed the game as the Mean Green's leading scorers with 16 apiece.
The exchange of runs late in the half carried over to the second, when North Texas threw a 7-0 run - punctuated by Laura McCoy's three pointer - to a 31-26 lead. ULM came back immediately, putting together an 8-0 run to retake the lead. The Mean Green fired back and built a 49-41 lead before a 13-2 ULM run set up the final fireworks.
North Texas will play its final home game at the Super Pit on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Louisiana-Lafayette.