Game 12 • Saturday, December 17, 2011 • 7:00 p.m.North Texas Mean Green (7-4, 0-0 Sun Belt)
at No. 24 Texas Longhorns (7-2, 0-0 Big 12)
Austin, Texas • Erwin Center (16,734)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: Longhorn Network
Series Record: Texas leads 10-0
Last Meeting: L, 52-96 (11/20/09) at TexasMean Green Take On No. 24 Texas
The Mean Green return to action, taking on a ranked opponent (AP Poll) for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009, when it also faced the Texas Longhorns. Karen Aston returns to Texas for the first time as a head coach, after spending 1998-2006 there as an assistant to Jody Conradt. The Mean Green are 1-3 against 2011 postseason teams, such as Texas, this season, but are 6-0 against teams that did not make the 2011 postseason.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• North Texas is one of two teams nationally to have at least two more wins than in 2010-11, giving the Mean Green Division I's best turnaround, in terms of wins, so far.
• The Mean Green defense has improved 229 ranks, the largest improvement in the nation.
• Laura McCoy leads Division I with a free-throw percentage of .970
• North Texas won its first regular-season tournament since 2002-03
• North Texas notched its first win over SEC and Mountain West schools this season and its first win over a Pac-12 team since 1988 on Dec. 2
• North Texas ranks 99th in the RPI, which ranks 3rd in the Sun Belt (realtimerpi.com)
• Brittney Hudson became the first player in 27 years to record nine steals in a single game, tying a North Texas single game record
North Texas vs. Texas
Historically, Texas has dominated North Texas, with the most recent game a 96-52 win for the then-No. 10 Longhorns in Austin. The closest North Texas has ever played Texas was a 69-49 loss in 2005-06, to a then-No. 19 Texas squad. The Mean Green have hosted Texas just once, in 2004-05, when No. 4 Texas won 79-54. The other nine contests have been in Austin.
Mean Green Working On Nation's Best Turnaround
North Texas has improved its record from 5-25 in 2010-11 to 7-4 so far this season, which is tied for the nation's biggest turnaround, in terms of wins. The Mean Green are one of two teams nationally who have won two more than their total last year, and one of only seven teams to have won more than their total from 2010-11 already. In terms of winning percentage, the Mean Green has the eighth-biggest turnaround in the nation.
Biggest Turnarounds - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Dec. 11)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (W)
1 North Texas 7-4 5-25 +2
Niagara 3-6 1-29 +2
3 Vermont 6-3 5-25 +1
William & Mary 4-3 3-26 +1
Cal St. Northridge 5-5 4-26 +1
Southern Ill. 3-5 2-28 +1
A&M-Corpus Christi 3-7 2-27 +1
Taking Care Of Buisness
North Texas is 6-0 against teams that did not make the postseason in 2010-11, and is 1-4 against teams that did qualify for the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season. North Texas has six games remaining against 2011 postseason teams, including five in league play; two against Sun Belt Tournament champ UALR, and WNIT participant Denver, and one against NCAA At-Large pick Middle Tennessee.
Mean Green Ranked 29th Among Mid-Majors
North Texas was ranked 29th for the second straight week in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 poll released on Dec. 13. The Mean Green received 19 votes. The Mean Green have a total of five games scheduled against teams in the poll, having lost 78-67 to No. 12 Missouri State, lost 70-60 to No. 14 Oral Roberts, and has games remaining against No. 19 Middle Tennessee and a home-and-home with No. 20 Denver.
McCoy Ranks Leads The Nation From The Line
Laura McCoy is 32-of-33 on the year in free throws, and leads all of Division I with a percentage of 97.0%. She made her first 20 free throws of the year before missing her first. 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, Brittney Hudson (10th SBC, 187th NCAA, .773) and Tamara Torru (11th, SBC, 197th NCAA, .766) rank in the top 15 of the Sun Belt, and top 200 nationally, 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 92nd in the nation this year, at 57.5 points per game, improving by 15.8 points and 229 ranks. North Texas currently has the lowest opponent scoring average in school history; North Texas has only held opponents to under 60 points per game in a season once, in 2005-06, holding opponents to 59.7 points per game. 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 55.4 36.3
Bearing Down On Defense
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 defensive 3-point percentage and ranks second in defensive field goal percentage. The Mean Green rank 127th nationally in field goal percentage defense and 54th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Torru Draining The Three
Tamara Torru is shooting 15-of-29 (.517) from beyond the arc this season, including a 5-of-8 performance at Arizona. She needs just four 3-pointers to enter North Texas' career list. From Nov. 22 to Dec. 3, she went 12-of-19 (.632) from distance, as the Mean Green went 4-1 in that span. North Texas' single-season school record in 3-point percentage is .446, set by Delaine Taylor in 1994-95.
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.
Mean Green Off To Fast Start
At 7-2, North Texas had its best nine-game start since 2005-06, which ties for the second-best start in school history through nine games, 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 41.8% offensive rebounding percentage (187 offensive rebounds, 260 defensive rebounds allowed), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 168 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.90 points per play), and have only allowed 73 second-chance points on 144 offensive rebounds allowed (0.51 points per play).
Hudson Steals The Show
Brittney Hudson tied a North Texas single-game record with nine steals against Tulane on Dec. 9, putting her atop the single-game leaderboard with Regina Woods, who has 9 steals against Texas State on Feb. 20, 1985. Hudson has a career-high for steals on the season, surpassing her previous best season with 31 steals already. She ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference and is 78th nationally with 2.8 steals per game. She is on pace to get 84 steals this season, which would be just eight off the North Texas record.
Godbolt Ranks Second In Double-Doubles
Jasmine Godbolt has picked up four double-doubles since Nov. 22, and has vaulted to second in the Sun Belt Conference, and 22nd 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 20 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.
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.
Bolting Into The Record Books
Jasmine Godbolt has a chance to enter the record books in numerous offensive categories. Godbolt is only 135 points away from becoming only the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points. She ranks 9th at North Texas in career rebounds, needing 6 more to tie Diane Williams for 8th, and is 198 away from the school record. Godbolt has made 227 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.
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), a then-career high in 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.
The Super Pit Is It
The Mean Green won its six of its last eight non-conference home games dating back to the start of 2010-11. Since 1998-99, North Texas is 105-56 (.652) 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.
North Texas is having one of its best seasons in recent memory. Below are selected accomplishments that the 2011-12 team has achieved for the first time in a while. The accomplishment for the 2011-12 is in parenthesis.
2009-10: Won 6+ games (7)
2005-06: Started 7-2, Winning non-conference season (7-4), Season-opening double-double (Tamara Torru, 13 pts, 12 reb), Held opponents to 60 points or less over a season (57.5, in progress)
2003-04: Had a player shoot over .900 on FTs for the season (Laura McCoy, .970, in progress)
2002-03: Won a regular-season tournament (Gene Hackerman Invitational)
1989-90: Head coach won a debut game (Karen Aston, UT Arlington)
1988-89: Defeated a Pac-12 team (Oregon State)
1984-85: Had a player with 9 steals in a single game (Brittney Hudson, Tulane)
First: Win vs. SEC team (Alabama), Win vs. Mountain West team (New Mexico)