Game 9 • Wednesday, December 7, 2011 • 7:00 p.m.
Alabama Crimson Tide (7-2, 0-0 SEC)
at North Texas Mean Green (6-2, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Denton, Texas • The Super Pit (10,500)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: None
Series Record: First Meeting
Mean Green Takes On Alabama
North Texas, fresh off of a tournament title at the Gene Hackerman Invitational, hosts Alabama, looking for its first win over an SEC team. The Mean Green have marched out to their best start since 2005-06, a 6-2 mark, with strong defense. North Texas has the most improved defense in the nation, and leads the Sun Belt Conference in defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point field goal percentage.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• North Texas has its best eight-game start to the season since 2005-06, when it started 7-1.
• The Mean Green defense has improved 269 ranks, to 52nd in the nation, the largest improvement in the nation.
• Laura McCoy ranks second in the nation with a free-throw percentage of .963
• North Texas won its first regular-season tournament since 2002-03 at the Gene Hackerman Invitational
• North Texas notched its first win over a Pac-12 team since 1988 on Dec. 2
• Jasmine Godbolt needs just two rebounds to tie Erika Bobo for 9th on NT's career list and 12 to to tie Diane Williams for 8th.
North Texas vs. Alabama
North Texas has never played Alabama, and has not hosted a SEC foe since 1/2/2003, when LSU visited The Super Pit. Overall, North Texas is 0-11 against the SEC, and is looking for its first win against the SEC. North Texas has already earned its first-ever win over the MountainWest and first win since 1988 against the Pac-12 this season.
Mean Green Win Gene Hackerman Invitational
North Texas won two games at Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse on Dec. 2-3 to take home the Gene Hackerman Invitational title, North Texas' first regular season tournament title since the Southwest Texas CenturyTel Classic in 2002-03. Jasmine Godbolt was named tournament MVP with 15.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds, and Tamara Torru was named to the all-tournament team with 9.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. North Texas opened the tournament to knock off previously undefeated Oregon State for the Mean Green's first victory over a Pac-12 school since 1988 in the opening round, before beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 72-58 in the championship game, leading wire-to-wire. North Texas did not trail in the second half of either tournament game.
McCoy Ranks Second In Nation From Line
Laura McCoy is 26-of-27 on the year in free throws, and is ranked second in the nation with a percentage of 96.7, trailing only Green Bay's Adrian Ritchie, who is 18-for-18 on the season. As a freshman, McCoy only went 5-of-8 on free-throw shooting, before jumping significantly in attempts and makes this season. In addition to McCoy, Ash'Lynne Evans (6th, .842), Tamara Torru (12th, .757) and Brittney Hudson (15th, .700) rank in the top 15 of the Sun Belt in free throw percentage.
Mean Green Features Nation's Most Improved Defense
North Texas' defense is the most-improved in the nation, improving from 73.3 points per game, which ranked 321st in the nation in 2010-11, to 52nd in the nation this year, at 54.5 points per game, improving by 18.8 points and 269 ranks. North Texas has held every opponent to 70 points or less this year. New head coach Karen Aston brings the defensive emphasis from her previous job in Charlotte, where she coached her teams to allow 60.2 points per game the last two seasons.
NT Defense the last 2 years Charlotte defense the last 2 years
Year Points FG% Year Points FG%
2009-10 78.5 43.8 2009-10 60.3 32.4
2010-11 73.3 41.9 2010-11 60.1 35.6
2011-12 54.5 34.9
Play The Percentages
North Texas' defense is improved this year in large part to the fact that opponents have trouble getting good shots against the Mean Green. North Texas leads the Sun Belt Conference in both defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point percentage. The Mean Green rank 56th nationally in field goal percentage defense and 29th nationall in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Student Study Break Night
In the spirit of the upcoming final exams to end North Texas' fall semester, the Dec. 7 game against Alabama is Student Study Break Night at The Super Pit. The first 100 students recieve free Scantrons and cups of coffee at Gate B, and free No. 2 pencils will be distrubuted to all students. Additionally, there is a student-athlete meet-and-greet, where students can meet NT student-athletes.
Torru Draining The Three
Tamara Torru is shooting 13-of-22 (.591) from beyond the arc this season, including a 5-of-8 performance at Arizona. Torru is five 3-pointers away from qualifying for the national leaderboard, but her .591 would rank second in Division I. She needs just six 3-pointers to enter North Texas' career list. Over the first three games of the season, she only went 1-of-3 from distance, but she is 12-of-19 (.631) since then. North Texas' single-season school record in 3-point percentage is .446, set by Delaine Taylor in 1994-95.
Mean Green Off To Fast Start
North Texas had its first 2-0 start since 2005-06, and first 4-1 start since 2005-06, with Karen Aston taking over the reins of the program. Aston joined Tina Slinker as the only two coaches in North Texas program history to win a debut game, with a 66-47 road win, and joins Slinker as the only coaches to start their North Texas career 4-1. North Texas started the season 2-0 in road games, their best start on the road since 2000-01. The Mean Green allowed 256 points in its first five games, the fewest amount of points allowed through five games in program history.
Crashing The Boards
North Texas is owning the offensive glass this season, having a 40.9% offensive rebounding percentage (134 offensive rebounds, 193 defensive rebounds allowed), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 126 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.94 points per play), and have only allowed 50 second-chance points on 104 offensive rebounds allowed (0.48 points per play).
Hudson Steals The Show
Brittney Hudson ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference and is 107th nationally with 2.6 steals per game. She has 21 total steals, and is just two off her career high of 23, set in 2009-10. She is on pace to nab 78 steals this year, which would rank 7th in a single season at North Texas.
North Texas led wire-to-wire against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 3, marking North Texas' first wire-to-wire victory of the season and of the Karen Aston era. North Texas started the game on a 9-0 run, North Texas' best run to open a game this season. North Texas has not trailed in the second half of a game since Nov. 28 at Arizona, winning games against Oregon State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi without falling behind in the second frame. North Texas has not had a wire-to-wire defeat this season.
Godbolt Ranks Second In Double-Doubles
Jasmine Godbolt has picked up three double-doubles since Nov. 22, and has vaulted to second in the Sun Belt Conference, and 29th nationally, in double-doubles. She just missed on picking up a double-double in the two games prior to Nov. 22, picking up double-digit points and nine rebounds in both games. Godbolt has come one rebound away from picking up a double-double eight times in her career, to go along with 19 career double-doubles.
North Texas has held opponents to 50 points or fewer four times this season, which is the most times an opponent has been held to the half-century mark or less since 2005-06. North Texas held opponents to 50 points or fewer just three times in the span from 2008-11. North Texas held its opponents to 50 or less seven times in both 2004-05 and 2005-06, which is the school record.
Torru Named Sun Belt Player of the Week
Tamara Torru was named Sun Belt Player of the Week by both the league's coaches and College Sports Madness on Nov. 29. She scored 20+ points in back-to-back games for the first time in her career, scoring 22 at Texas State on Nov. 25 before setting a career-high with 26 at Arizona on Nov. 28. At Texas State, she scored North Texas' first eight points, helping the Mean Green to a 8-3 lead to start the game, and helping the Mean Green to a 61-43 victory. At Arizona, she poured in a career-high 26, while earning her second double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.
North Texas came away with s 50-46 win over SMU on Nov. 22, marking the first win for North Texas over the Mustangs since 2005-06. Prior to the 2011-12 academic year, no North Texas program had beaten SMU since football's 24-6 win over the Mustangs in 2006, but soccer and women's basketball have pulled out wins against the Mustangs this year. Karen Aston is now 2-0 against SMU boss Rhonda Rompola, with Aston winning a 2008-09 season game with Charlotte. Laura McCoy had one of the best games of her career against SMU, putting up career-highs in rebounds (8), assists (4), and set a season-high in points (9) that game. McCoy seems to enjoy playing the Ponies, her career-high in points was also set against SMU, scoring 12 points against them in 2010-11.
It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish
Despite going without a point for the first 9:32 of the game, and digging a 9-0 deficit, North Texas came back to beat SMU 50-46 on Nov. 22. The win is the biggest comeback victory for North Texas since it overcame a 13 point deficit to beat Nicholls State on Dec. 13, 2010. North Texas first took the lead in the game at 19:25 of the second half, when Laura McCoy made a 3-pointer to go up 23-22.
Torru Seeing Double-Double
Tamara Torru had the second double-double of her career at UT Arlington (13 pts, 12 reb) on Nov. 11, helping the Mean Green to a 66-47 victory. Torru grabbed 12 rebounds at UTA, just one short of her career-high 13, and reached 10+ rebounds for only the third time in her career. Torru is the first North Texas player since Erika Bobo in 2005 to open the season with a double-double. She also tied a career-high with three assists.
Game Time Changed For Tulane
North Texas' Dec. 7 home game against Tulane has been moved to 7:30 p.m., from its original game time of 7 p.m. The game time has been pushed back to accomadate fans who want to attend both the football banquet earlier that evening, and the women's basketball game.
Bolting Into The Record Books
Jasmine Godbolt has a chance to enter the record books in numerous offensive categories. Godbolt is only 144 points away from becoming only the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points. She ranks 10th at North Texas in career rebounds, needing two more to tie Erika Bobo for 9th and 12 to tie Diane Williams for 8th, and is 204 away from the school record. Godbolt has made 226 free throws for her career and is tied for 9th at North Texas, while she already ranks fifth all-time with 415 free throw attempts.
The Super Pit Is It
The Mean Green won its five of its last six non-conference home games dating back to the start of 2010-11, and have won seven of its last nine non-conference home games in the Super Pit, dating back to 2009. Since 1998-99, North Texas is 104-55 (.654) in all games at The Super Pit.
NT Records At Home Since 1998-99
Mean Green Voted Fifth
North Texas recieved one first place vote and was picked to finish fifth in the West Division in the preseason coaches poll. Denver was picked to finish first in the West, and Middle Tennessee was picked to win the East division.
2011-12 Sun Belt Preseason Poll
West Division Points East Division Points
1. Denver 62 (6) 1. Middle Tennessee 68 (9)
2. Arkansas State 56 (1) 2. FIU 58 (1)
3. UALR 53 (3) 3. Western Kentucky 48 (1)
4. Louisiana-Monroe 29 4. South Alabama 38
5. North Texas 28 (1) 5. Florida Atlantic 23 (1)
6. Louisiana-Lafayette 24 (1) 6. Troy 17
Hot Hoops In Hot Springs
For the fourth consecutive season, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be held in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Summit Arena & Convention Center. The format features all 12 teams going to Hot Springs. The top two teams from each division will earn byes into the quarterfinals. The women's tournament will be held from March 3-6. North Texas' Coaches Show is on the day preceding the tournament, March 2, from Lucky's in Hot Springs.
North Texas On The Tube
The Sun Belt Network televises three North Texas women's basketball conference games this season, while the Longhorn Network shows one:
Dec. 17 at Texas (LHN) 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 at ULM (SBN) 2 p.m.
Jan. 28 Arkansas St. (SBN) 7 p.m.
Feb. 18 La.-Lafayette (SBN) 1 p.m.
North Texas Inks Five
North Texas signed five players in the early signing period, including two guards, Briana Brooks and Loryn Goodwin, and three forwards in Eboniey Jeter, I'Tiana Taylor and Acheil Tac. Brooks (Tyler Robert E. Lee HS), was named first-team all-district in her junior year, posting 15.5 points and five assists per game. Goodwin (Cypress Falls HS) was named was named TGCA All-State and TBCA All-Region, All-Super Centex team, and was the District 12-5A Offensive MVP in 2010-11. Jeter (Harker Heights HS) averaged 13.9 points and 16 rebounds a year her junior year, en route to being named first team all-district. Tac (Sasche HS) is one of the leading rebounders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a forward and was named All-District 10-5A in 2011. Taylor (Pflugerville HS) ranks as the 52nd best power forward in the country by Dan Olsen Girls Basketball Report.
Mean Green Premium
Every North Texas home basketball game this season can be seen on MeanGreenSports.com, the official site of Mean Green athletics, by premium content subscribers. The premium subscription gives subscribers access to live and on-demand events on a month-to-month basis. The monthly subscription price is $9.95 or an entire year of Mean Green Premium access can be purchased for $99.95. Video Highlights will also be available on demand along with coaches press conferences.