Women's Basketball Season Review
Most Wins In 12 Years
DENTON -- Following the North Texas women's basketball team's 76-69 win in the Conference USA quarterfinals over Louisiana Tech, head coach Jalie Mitchell sat in her postgame press conference doing what she always does after a big win.
Speaking much quicker than she normally does with a gleaming smile, eyes as wide as they can be, Mitchell did her best to hold back her excitement.
After the interviews, she danced her way to the team's locker room where she finally let it all out as she told the team how proud she was.
The win over the Lady Techsters was the program's first over LA Tech, but most importantly it earned them a trip to the conference tournament semifinal, something the program hadn't accomplished since Mitchell's senior season at UNT in 2002.
In addition, it solidified what had been one of the program's most successful seasons in recent memory.
"We took a big step this year," Mitchell said. "We are moving in the right direction. Every year we have won more games and every player in that locker room we brought in and we believe in.
"That's big time and it only continues to go up from here," Mitchell added.
It's been a three-year process for Mitchell, who was hired in 2015 and took over a program that had won just five games the season prior, but in 2017-18, the team finished with 17 wins -- the fifth-most wins in program history and the most in 12 years -- and had its first winning season in 12 years.
North Texas made a name for itself as being one of the best defensive teams in the country, owning the nation's third best scoring defense for a majority of the year and holding teams like Kansas State to just 55 points, something only No. 4 Baylor and No. 6 Texas were able to replicate.
Guard Terriell Bradley saw a six-point increase in her point per game average and finished with 578 total points, the third-most in a single season in program history and the most by a Mean Green player in 32 years.
She was named first team all-conference as she carried the team through its highs and also pulled the team out of its lows.
Bradley ended the team's five-game losing streak with a record setting performance on Feb. 8 at Florida International. She made nine 3-pointers in a row, which as a total were the most made in a single game in school history but also the most made in a row in Conference USA as well as school history. She led UNT to the 46-point win --the program's largest road victory -- by scoring a career-high 32 points, all of which came in the first three quarters.
Bradley scored 20 or more points 16 times during the season and led the team in scoring 25 times. When she received help on the offensive end is typically when it took the team to another level.
North Texas went undefeated when they scored 70 or more points and were of course more of an offensive juggernaut when other players scored in double figures.
Holmes, who was named to the conference's all-freshman team, burst on the scene with a record setting performance in her college debut. She scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds in the first game of the year, the most points scored by a Mean Green player in their debut.
Mims dominated in the second half against Louisiana Tech in the C-USA quarterfinals as she finished with a team-high 19 points and made critical baskets down the stretch.
Terrell came alive in conference play. She led a Mean Green second half comeback against Rice, fell one rebound shy of a double-double at Florida Atlantic and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the conference semifinals against eventual champions Western Kentucky.
However, Holmes, Mims and Terrell like all freshmen had their ups and downs but the promise they showed furthered their head coach's statements that "it only continues to go up from here."
"We came in and all played major roles," Terrell said. "It was exciting to know we made a great impact on the team as freshmen."
Junior college transfer Brittany Smith was a consistent and stable presence at the important point guard position for the Mean Green. Smith started in 27 of the 29 games she played in and led her new team in assists.
A floor general on the court, Smith had 10 assists and zero turnovers at FIU on Feb. 8. But also an all-around threat, Smith had five games where she scored in double figures and had 10 rebounds at Eastern Illinois.
Along with Bradley, every other returner showed improvement from the previous season and also played pivotal roles in the team's success.
Post Micayla Buckner was the other teammate to lead the team in scoring in a game, as she scored a career-best 20 points on Nov. 14 versus Texas A&M International.
Buckner became just the 12th different Mean Green player to start every game in a season after only starting six the year before. She ended the year with 35 blocks, the eighth-most in a single season in school history and the most in 15 years.
Along with blocks, Buckner had career highs in points and rebounds. She had two double doubles and in the C-USA quarterfinals she went toe-to-toe with LA Tech's all-conference post Alexis Malone.
Poland earned three starts in the middle of the season and was a force on the boards in some of the Mean Green's toughest games. Goodhart developed into an every day starter by the end of the year. She played all 45 minutes in the team's overtime win at Eastern Illinois while finishing with a UNT career-high 16 points.
"We all made strides in the right direction," Bradley said. "It should give us a lot of confidence going into the next season. I think the way we ended the year in the conference tournament has given everyone confidence and we all realize how good we can be."
Guard Callie Owens will be eligible after sitting out the entire season due to NCAA transfer rules and incoming freshmen Charlene Shepherd and Jasmyne Robinson will also join the team this coming summer.
"There's a lot to be excited about," Bradley said. "If we continue to work hard we know it's only going to get better from here."