DENTON, Texas (12/6/08) Freshman Mansa El scored the final five points of the game to give North Texas a 71-67 victory against Valparaiso on Saturday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green snaps a two-game losing streak and ties its series record with Valparaiso at 1-1. North Texas improves to 4-3, while the Crusaders fall to 3-2 overall.
El gave North Texas a 69-67 lead after completing a three-point play with 28 seconds left to play. The freshman went to the line once again 10 seconds later after forcing a turnover and then promptly being fouled. She made both free throws to seal the win for the Mean Green.
Down by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Mean Green tied the game at 40-40 after going on a 13-2 run to start the second half. North Texas kept within single digits of the Crusaders and took its first lead with four minutes to go in the game. NT outscored Valparaiso in the second half, 44-29.
Amber Jackson led the Mean Green with her fourth straight double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Seniors Tricia Lee and Jo Hall joined Jackson in double figures with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Mansa El tied a career high with eight points.
The Crusaders held a 58-49 lead with 9:31 left in the game. NT posted three straight three-pointers by Yari Escalera, Mansa El and Jo Hall, tying the game at 58-58. Jackson completed a three-point play after being fouled to give North Texas its first lead of the game, 61-60, with 4:24 on the clock.
North Texas took two more leads but the Crusaders always had an answer. Launa Hochstetler hit a three-pointer to give Valparaiso its final lead of the game, 67-66, with 45 seconds left on the clock. Mansa El had the final answer after she put North Texas in control, 68-67, with a layup and a trip to the line.
It was a story of the two halves for the Mean Green. North Texas made only 10 field goals and one three pointer in the first half. In the second half, the Mean Green went 15-for-40 from the field and 6-for-14 from behind the arc.
Torrian Timms led the Mean Green with a career-high 11 rebounds. She also tied a career high with six points. The Mean Green held the edge in rebounds, 46-38.
North Texas returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 8 when it travels to New Mexico to face New Mexico at 8 pm.