MOBILE, Ala. – A fast start against South Alabama had the North Texas women’s basketball team thinking triumph on Saturday night, but a tough defensive stand by the Jaguars was too much to overcome in a 65-61 loss at the Mitchell Center.
Alexis Hyder led the Mean Green (10-17, 9-10 SBC) with 16 points, and a late surge from Desiree Nelson helped claw NT back into the game. Down 16 points with eight minutes to go, a then-scoreless Nelson posted a personal 10-point run that made it a six point game with 3:20 left.
Loryn Goodwin cut the lead to three, 64-61, with a 3-pointer from the left of the key with 14.8 on the clock, but the Jaguars closed NT out with a free throw on the other end.
South Alabama (15-12, 8-10 SBC) wouldn’t be denied on its senior day. The Jaguars racked up seven blocks and 11 steals that turned 20 NT turnovers into 19 points. USA held the Mean Green to 37.5 percent shooting on the day.
Former North Texas player Mansa El led South Alabama with 19 points, while Camille Reynolds tallied 14.
With the score tied 6-6 early in the contest, Hyder began her day with a trio of nifty layups and a free throw to spark a 11-0 Mean Green run. The freshman poured in 12 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting and had NT up 11 points with 9:56 remaining in the half.
The Jaguars responded with a defensive effort that held NT to 34.4 percent from the floor thanks to six team blocks. El tallied 12 first-half points for the Jags to head into the halftime break with a 31-26 lead.
North Texas returns home to face Arkansas State on Wednesday at the Super Pit. Senior Day activities will take place just prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff.