HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The North Texas women’s basketball team led the East’s No. 2 seed, Florida Atlantic, for 39:58, but the Owls’ April Goins hit a layup with 1.8 seconds remaining to steal a 56-55 decision over the Mean Green.
The bucket ends North Texas’ (15-16) season, which was NT’s best since 2006. Florida Atlantic (17-11) moves onto the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals on Monday.
The Mean Green led by as many as 19 points with 18:14 remaining thanks to stellar performances from Tamara Torru and Laura McCoy. Torru notched a team-high 17 points, while McCoy, who has reached double figures in every Sun Belt Tournament game of her career, poured in 12.
FAU didn’t waste much time getting back into the game, cutting the NT advantage to 10 points with just over 12 minutes to play. Chenise Miller hit a pair of free throws with 4:30 remaining to cut he NT lead down to 49-45. Miller landed a jumper on FAU’s next possession to cut the lead to a bucket, and April Goins hit one free throw on the next trip down the floor to make it a one-point game.
Needing a response on both ends of the floor, NT’s Tamara Torru splashed a 3-pointer, and Desiree Nelson came up with a key steal. That turned into another Torru bomb from deep that made it 55-48 Mean Green.
Teri Stamps and the Owls wouldn’t go away. Stamps knocked down a 20-foot 3-pointer from the top of the key with 43.6 remaining to cut the NT lead to 55-53. Stamps hit a free throw with 14.1 on the clock, and Goins notched a layup with 1.8 seconds left to give the Owls their first lead of the game and the win.
NT hit nine 3-pointers on the day, which are a season high. McCoy and Torru both hit four 3-pointers apiece for the Mean Green.
Kasondra Foreman picked up right where she left off on Saturday, scoring the Mean Green’s first five points of the game. McCoy added another 3-pointer to put NT on top 8-2 just over two minutes into the game.
North Texas owned the first half, and took control thanks to a 13-0 Mean Green run that lasted 7:32 and ended with a 21-6 NT edge. NT held the Owls to 29.2 percent shooting in the first half, and posted an 11-1 edge in second chance points.
With the shot clock dwindling, McCoy splashed home a 24-foot 3-pointer with 3:24 on the first half clock that expanded the NT lead to 29-11.
Ash’Lynne Evans corralled an FAU turnover from her own free throw line with just seconds on the clock and attempted a buzzer-beating heave. The sophomore drew a foul, and hit two of her three free throws with 0.9 on the clock to send NT into the break with a 33-15 lead.
Florida Atlantic shot 51.7 percent from the floor in the second half.