ROCK HILL, S.C. (11/10/07) Mistakes down the stretch doomed the North Texas (0-2) women’s basketball team as they fell to the Rice Owls 69-65 at the Winthrop Adidas Classic. North Texas had 27 turnovers in the game and made three crucial mistakes in the final minute of play to let Rice escape with the win.
“We have to get better play from our point guard position and we can’t afford to make those kinds of mistakes late in the game,” said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. “I was really pleased with the way that Erica Howard stepped up in the second half but we just need to learn how to close out these games”.
In a game that mirrored its season opener against Winthrop the night before, North Texas was down at the half 39-37. Strong play from junior Jo Hall once again kept the Mean Green close in the first half as she had 12 of her 16 points in the opening half. The Owls (2-0) extended their lead to 50-42 in the second half with 16:36 remaining when North Texas had its push.
Erica Howard scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half fueled the Mean Green’s rally. It was a 13-2 run that made it 55-52 North Texas with 10 minutes remaining. The Mean Green pushed the lead to 63-57 with eight minutes left but that is when Rice made its comeback.
Two baskets by Valeriya Berezhynska capped off an 8-0 run by Rice to regain the lead for the Owls at 65-63. North Texas tied it back up at 65-65 on a jumper by Howard with 2:12 remaining. Free throws by Rice and the Mean Green’s mistakes though were the difference in the final two minutes.
North Texas closes out the Winthrop Classic tomorrow with its third game in three days against Navy at 12 p.m.