Mean Green Back On The Road, At Metroplex Rival SMU
North Texas Heads To The Hilltop
DENTON -- After winning its home opener on Saturday, North Texas is back on the road for the fifth time in six games. Riding a two-game winning streak, the Mean Green head to Southern Methodist University's Moody Coliseum, Wednesday at 7 p.m., searching for its first win at the Hilltop since 1989.
A win Wednesday for the Mean Green and second-year head coach Jalie Mitchell would be their second in a row over the Metroplex rival, an accomplishment North Texas hasn't held since 1982. More importantly in the greater scheme of the season, a win would further the confidence and melding of a team that has added nine talented newcomers to its active roster.
Eight of the nine newcomers have seen playing time at some point in this early season and all were a part and exposed to the early season wrinkles of throwing together so many new players.
After dropping its first three games, North Texas (2-3, 0-0 C-USA) has been showing signs of smoothening out the kinks with back-to-back wins over opponents who had beaten the Mean Green a season ago.
SMU (4-2, 0-0 AAC) isn't one of those opponents, but they are a more than formidable one who present the task of defending talented bigs. The Mustangs' leading scorer at 17 points per game, Alicia Froling, is a 6-foot-3 forward who has national team experience playing for her home country of Australia. Along with Froling, 6-foot-5 Klara Bradshaw could also roll out in the starting lineup and play starter minutes.
As they've successfully done the past two games, North Texas will try to attack the rim with execution of its offense and a quick tempo in transition. They'll additionally need to receive contribution from bench players, as depth has been a characteristic of this team prior to even the season beginning.
The Mean Green's bench has scored at least 20 points in every game this season and has outscored the opposing bench in four of the five games. In their most recent game against Iona, North Texas held the Gaels' bench to just two points while they scored a season-high 28.
The early season has shown depth will give plenty of opportunities for the bench to influence games. On Saturday versus Iona, freshman Adrianna Henderson, who had only played ten minutes total all season, came off the bench midway in the third quarter and lifted a team that was struggling coming out of the halftime break. Henderson finished the game with a career-high 10 points but had seven quick points off the bench to push the Mean Green lead to double digits.
At Arizona, newcomer Terriell Bradley came off the bench and scored 15 second-half points and finished with 17 as North Texas defeated the Wildcats 62-58.
During the season opener at Arkansas Little Rock, senior Candice Adams came off the bench and drilled three 3-pointers. Though, the Mean Green lost the game, her baskets kept it close and came during a time that their offense had been struggling.
In four of the five games this season, North Texas has had at least nine players score at least one basket. Last season, the Mean Green only had nine players score in a game twice all year. Even if it's only a quick contribution with a simple layup, every individual on the team has played an important piece to the game. The more they are contributing the more success they'll have, as indicated during the current winning streak.
HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG
Wednesday's game is being aired on Mean Green Radio Network on KNTU 88.1 with John Liddle on the call. The game will also be streamed online on KNTU.com
MEAN GREEN QUICK HITTERS
SMU first-year head coach Travis Mays and Mean Green head coach Jalie Mitchell were assistants at the University of Texas together under Karen Aston.
Adams is also four 3-pointers from tying 2010 North Texas graduate Brittney James for fourth all-time in 3-pointers made with 112. Adams has made four 3-pointers in a game three times in her career but never more than four. She last made four 3-pointers on Feb. 6, 2016 at Louisiana Tech.
Adams and senior point guard Kelsey Criner combined to score 29 points last season against SMU.
- North Texas has had a different starting five every game this season.
If North Texas wins it'll tie last season's longest winning streak of three.
This will be the sixth game of the season but the third game North Texas has played at an arena named Moody Coliseum