Women's Basketball Begins C-USA Championship Against Charlotte
North Texas Plays Charlotte At 2:00 p.m.
DENTON — From Feb. 21 to March 2, the North Texas women’s basketball team traveled over 3,000 miles in about a week. They played over 100 minutes of basketball, not including practices, and the team that has one of the smallest active rosters in Conference USA were feeling the strain of the end of a 28-game season.
Slow feet, tired minds and exhausted bodies, though not an excuse head coach Jalie Mitchell would accept, were clearly plaguing the once defensive dominate Mean Green.
So Mitchell did something she hadn’t done all year.
After the team arrived to Houston the day before its final game of the regular season, Mitchell gave the team the day off.
The next morning, North Texas had a light shootaround at Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse.
Though, UNT fell short of beating the 20-win Owls, losing 47-45, North Texas (15-13), most notably on the defensive end, looked reenergized and ready for a postseason run.
“We’re going to have to knock down shots, especially against the zone, but even when the shots weren’t falling I was really pleased with the energy we showed to bring us back,” Mitchell said following the loss to Rice.
Wednesday, North Texas will look to build off that rejuvenating performance at Rice as they face the Charlotte 49ers in the first round of the C-USA Women’s Basketball Championship at 2:00 p.m. at The Star in Frisco.
In their only meeting this season, North Texas beat Charlotte behind one of its best shooting performances of the year.
But again, it was their strong defensive execution that led them back and beat the 49ers for the first time in program history.
“Our defense is what starts our offense,” said freshman Lauren Holmes after the game. “We feed off it and it gets us in rhythm.”
The Mean Green began that game by allowing 20 points in the first five minutes of the game and before they knew it were looking at an 11-point deficit.
But as the team settled in so did their defense.
North Texas contained Charlotte to just nine points over the next 10 minutes and slowly crept back into the game to the point where they were exchanging leads early in the fourth quarter.
In the game’s final five minutes, UNT held Charlotte to five points while Holmes rallied off multiple 3-pointers and Terriell Bradley secured the win with late free throws.
“We kept playing and worked through our struggles,” Holmes said.
Saturday at Rice, North Texas played with that same defensive fire that had led them to the nation’s No. 3 scoring defensive for a majority of the season.
The Mean Green forced 19 turnovers and six Rice shot clock violations on Saturday. North Texas themselves committed a season-low five turnovers and they made key stops towards the end of the game.
How UNT builds off Saturday’s game starts with confidence.
“We need to be confident and believe in one another,” said point guard Brittany Smith. “Focus on each possession.”
Under third-year head coach Jalie Mitchell North Texas has won each of its first-round conference tournament games. This year, however, she will have to lead a less experienced team as Wednesday will be the first conference tournament game for many of the Mean Green players.
Bradley has also played in two games at North Texas but also played in one in her freshman season at Kansas. She scored 13 points in 28 minutes in that game.
Wednesday’s game will be aired live on Facebook at 2:00 p.m. Former Mean Green Radio Network women’s basketball broadcaster Steven “Poppy’ Bartolotta will be doing the Facebook broadcast play-by-play. The game will also be aired live on the radio on KNTU 88.1 FM.
Please join the team at the Nylo Hotel on Wednesday at noon to give the team a Mean Green send-off.
The Mean Green Fan Fest will begin at 1:15 p.m. at the Star.
Click here for the C-USA's 2018 Basketball Championships website.
All-session passes are your best value and allow you to catch all the action of the conference tournament. Fans can buy all-session passes here.
North Texas Faculty/Staff Tickets
Session 1 (Women’s First Round) – March 7th, 2018
Price: $15.00 (Permanent Bowl Seating)
Session 1 (Women's First Round) -- March 7, 2018
Whether you plan to attend the C-USA Championships or not, please consider making a gift to provide UNT students with a memorable experience cheering on the Mean Green in postseason action. Gifts can be made here.