San Antonio, Tex. (11/24/01) No. 3 Oklahoma (5-0) needed the final six minutes of its game against the North Texas women’s basketball team (3-2) to pull away from the Lady Eagles in an 83-68 victory Saturday night at the UTSA Classic.
Trailing just 64-65, North Texas could only manage four points to OU’s 18 over the final six minutes of the game. Caton Hill spurred the Oklahoma run, re-entering the game with four fouls at that stage and scoring five of the Sooner’s next seven points. The final score was the biggest margin in the game.
“I was proud of the way we played tonight,” said North Texas head coach Tina Slinker. “Our players gave a big effort and I think they know that they can play at this level.”
A tight first half battle that ended in a 35-35 tie saw seven lead changes and six ties. The Lady Eagles exploded for six three-pointers in the first half and posted a .600 percentage from beyond the arch. Trailing 17-22 and without a basket over the last 4:30, North Texas got three consecutive three-point buckets from Nicole Thomas to give the Lady Eagles a 26-24 advantage with 6:53 left in the first half. Neither team took more than a three-point advantage the rest of the first half.
“We were getting some open looks and hitting our shots,” said North Texas senior forward Jalie Mitchell.
Although North Texas never led in the second half, the first 14 minutes were much like the first 20 minutes of the contest as OU’s largest lead never got above six points. The Lady Eagles came back from a six point deficit four different times in the second half to cut the Oklahoma lead to just one or two points.
“I’m glad we got a good challenge tonight,” said Stacey Dales, All-American guard for the Sooners. “They are a good team that is going to go far. North Texas is a good team that will make you pay for your mistakes.”
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for North Texas. The Lady Eagles only two losses this season have come against Top 25 teams. UNT’s only other loss this year came against No. 14 Baylor, 78-85.
The Lady Eagles finished the game 9-18 from beyond the arch. The nine 3-pointers ties the fifth most in school history. Thomas accounted for four, Mitchell had three and Shannan Stephenson had two. All three players reached double-figures scoring, led by Mitchell’s game-high 18. Thomas finished the game with a season-best 16 points and Stephenson had 15.
North Texas outrebounded OU 38-36. Rosalyn Reades had a season and game-high eight rebounds to lead the Lady Eagles on the boards. UNT posted a .381 shooting percentage in comparison to OU’s .492.
North Texas’ will host UTA in its next game. The outing is scheduled for Nov. 27 and is set to tip-off at 7 p.m.