DENTON, Texas (12/1/12) - A second-half surge by the Mean Green propelled the North Texas women's basketball team to a 71-59 win against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday night at the Super Pit.
North Texas improves to 2-5 overall and 1-0 in the Sun Belt. The Ragin' Cajuns fall to 3-4 and 0-2 in the conference. The Mean Green takes a 17-16 advantage in the series.
"I was happy with our effort tonight," said head coach Mike Petersen. "It was better, but we still rode the roller coaster. We were up 11 in the first half and had a chance to just shut the thing down and didn't. We've got to stop riding the roller coaster and have a more consistent effort."
The Mean Green shot 62.5 percent from the field in the second half to take a two-point half-time lead and extend that to 14 points midway through the second stanza. North Texas finished the game with a season-high 54.9 shooting night.
Alexis Hyder led the Mean Green with 16 points, two points shy of a career high. She scored 11 of those points in the first period. Desiree Nelson scored a season-high 14 points, and BreAnna Dawkins and Laura McCoy also joined the double-figures club.
After going 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half, North Texas hit four 3-pointers in the opening nine minutes of the second stanza to aid a 20-11 run. The run put North Texas ahead, 50-39 at 11:25. The 14-point lead was the largest of the game so far for the Mean Green.
Nelson followed that up by scoring five of the next Mean Green points to keep the Mean Green ahead, 55-42. ULL would cut the lead to six points twice, at 6:20 and 5:57, but North Texas went on a 14-8 run to finish the game and seal the win.
McCoy and Nelson both picked up the pace in the second half. McCoy finished with 12 points after scoring just one tally in the first, while Nelson recorded 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
North Texas started off slow, making only 3 of its first 12 shots and turning over the ball four times in the opening eight minutes. North Texas was more effective when it used the glass down low, and went on a run midway through the first half aided by transition play and attacking the basket.
Hyder scored five quick points off a three-and-one and a layup to give North Texas a 13-11 advantage at 9:13. She scored seven of NT's first 13 points and finished the first half with a game-high 11 points.
With a steal and a fast-break layup, Hyder put North Texas ahead, 17-15. Her fast break also began an 11-0 run for the Mean Green, putting NT up, 26-15, at 4:52.
The Ragin' Cajuns responded with an 11-0 run of their own to tie the game, 26-26, at 1:21. A layup at the buzzer by Ashley Benjamin gave ULL the edge at the half, 30-28.
The Ragin' Cajuns struggled from the three-point range, hitting only 3-of-15. ULL shot 35 percent from the field in the game.
Laura McCoy hit the Mean Green's first 3-pointer at 19:03 in the second half. She finished with three 3-pointers and moved into a tie for fifth place in NT's career 3-pointers with 87.
North Texas returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 6 when it faces Oklahoma on the road at 7 p.m.