DENTON, Texas - Unable to find any consistency on offense all night, the North Texas women turned to their defense and rebounding to stay close through the first half, then found just enough scoring in the second to rally for a 50-46 victory over the SMU Mustangs Tuesday night at the Super Pit.
Tamara Torru turned in a gutsy performance and was the Mean Green's leading scorer with 13 points, Laura McCoy had nine points including four clutch free throws late and Jasmine Godbolt fought through shooting woes and battled her way to 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Mean Green, who move to 3-1 on the season. It was the first loss of the year for SMU (3-1).
"I'm proud of them for sticking with it" North Texas coach Karen Aston said. "They could have got down on themselves, but they really grew up tonight. What I saw was growth from our last game."
The teams combined to make just 31 of 100 attempts from the field, but North Texas enjoyed 73 percent free-throw shooting, a 43-38 rebounding advantage and an 8-3 edge in second-chance scoring.
North Texas got off to an icy start, missing their first seventeen shots of the game, fifteen from the field and two from the line, but a strong rebounding effort and defense that forced four early turnovers kept SMU from taking full advantage, and the Mustangs could manage only a 9-0 lead.
The Mean Green finally broke through with two free throws by Brittney Hudson eight and a half minutes into the game, then quickly drew within five of the Mustangs at 11-6 midway through the first half.
With five minutes left in the half, though having made just three of their first 19 field goal attempts and with Godbolt forced to the bench with two fouls, the Mean Green had shaved the SMU lead to 15-12.
By halftime, North Texas began to find its offense in the form of six points by Alyssa Hankins, five by Torru and 75 percent free-throw shooting to overcome 5-for-26 field-goal shooting, and the Mean Green trailed by just two at the break, 22-20.
SMU, meanwhile, could not find any rhythm on offense in the face of North Texas's aggressive defense, and their shooting percentage slumped to 36 percent by halftime.
North Texas earned its first lead of the game early in the second half on a three-pointer by McCoy, and Godbolt finally found her scoring touch at the 15:00 mark with an shot in the paint. With eight minutes gone in the second half, the Mean Green defense and a pair of fast break buckets built a 37-30 lead.
The Mean Green lead was 39-30 when SMU went on a 6-0 run to set up a tense finish. Godbolt scored, was fouled, and hit the free throw for a 44-38 lead, but the Mustangs drew to within one at 46-45 with 24.8 seconds to play.
McCoy, however, hit two free throws with 22.4 to play for a 48-45 lead. SMU missed a three-pointer with two seconds left that would have tied the game, and Godbolt got the rebound and was fouled, putting the game out of reach with a final free throw.