DENTON, Texas - North Texas could not overcome its worst shooting performance of the season, as a 25.7 field-goal percentage sent the Mean Green women's basketball team to a 59-50 loss to the UTA Mavericks Tuesday night at the Super Pit.
"We got exactly what we deserved," North Texas coach Mike Petersen said. "You can't miss that many layups, that many free throws, and get out-rebounded by 18 and win a game. We got exactly what we deserved."
Coming off a strong effort 12 days ago against Oklahoma, the Mean Green (2-7) put on a dreadful shooting performance Tuesday night. North Texas made 18-of-70 field-goal attempts, including three-of-25 from three-point range, and 11-of-20 free throws. Most frustrating, the Mean Green consistently penetrated the defense of the taller Mavericks but could not finish.
"That's a focus deal, a mental-toughness deal, and we didn't have any of either," Petersen said. "We did not get ready to play, and that's on me."
North Texas trailed at halftime, 25-21, but came out flying to start the second half and went on a 17-3 scoring run. Sara Stanley, who finished with a game-high 16 points, ignited the rally that saw the Mean Green hit six of its first eight shots of the half. The run sent North Texas to a 38-28 lead and apparent control of the game.
But UTA (2-7) surged back, and with 8:30 to play capped a run of their own with a three-pointer for a 41-40 lead. From that point, the North Texas offense again went quiet and could not be re-started.
"We thought the game was over," Petersen said. "We quit playing. Our maturity level is not what it needs to be. That's on all of us to grow up together."
The game was tied at 45-45 with five minutes to play, but UTA took the lead for good and held it on the strength of solid free-throw shooting and some timely three-pointers.
UTA had a size advantage behind its trio of forwards, 6-foot-1 Aron Garcia, 6-2 Hailee Rhymes and 6-3 Rosalyn Thorpe, but the Mean Green held its own on the boards in the early going while forcing UTA into some awkward shots, a defensive effort fueled by three shot blocks by Alexis Hyder.
On offense, North Texas consistently created good scoring opportunities inside and frequently beat the Mavericks down the floor on makes and misses, but the game remained closed because the Mean Green could not capitalize on its chances, hitting just six of its first 26 shots. The ice storm continued throughout the first half for North Texas, which made seven of 32 field goal attempts, one of 10 three-point shots, and six of 14 free-throw attempts in the first 20 minutes. UTA, held to 10-of-34 shooting in the half, nonetheless managed to take a 25-21 lead at halftime.
North Texas will finish the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule Saturday night at Tulane. Game time is 7 p.m. The Mean Green return home on January 2 to face Troy.