Game 14 • Wednesday, December 28, 2011 • 7:00 p.m.
UALR Trojans (4-8, 0-0 Sun Belt) at
North Texas Mean Green (7-6, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Denton, Texas • The Super Pit (10,500)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: None
Series Record: UALR leads 10-9
Last Meeting: L, 46-59 (3/1/2011) at UALR
Mean Green Host UALR To Open Sun Belt Play
Coming off its first winning non-conference season since 2005-06, the Mean Green take on UALR to open the Sun Belt schedule. The Mean Green, with seven wins this year, have won two more games than all of last season, one of seven teams to have accomplished that feat this year. As a coach, Karen Aston enters the season with a 2-0 record against the Sun Belt, having beat Arkansas State twice.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• North Texas is one of four 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 by 14.1 points, the fifth-most in the nation
• Laura McCoy led Division I in the most recent ranking with a free-throw percentage of .970
• 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
• The Mean Green have had chances to win all 13 games, coming away with 7 wins and having at least one second-half possession to tie in all other games
• Tamara Torru ranks in the Sun Belt's top 15 of 11 different statistical categories.
North Texas vs. UALR
North Texas, despite at one point leading the series 9-1, now trails the all-time series with UALR 10-9, after the Trojans won the last nine consecutive matchups, dating back to 2005-06. Last season, the Mean Green lost to UALR 59-54 at home, and lost 59-46 at UALR, in a game that was rescheduled from its original date due to inclement weather. North Texas head coach Karen Aston is a graduate of UALR, playing for the Trojans from 1984-86.
Mean Green Working On Nation's Best Turnaround
North Texas has improved its record from 5-25 in 2010-11 to 7-6 so far this season, which is tied for the nation's biggest turnaround, in terms of wins. The Mean Green are one of four teams nationally who have won two more than their total last year, and one of only nine 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. 18)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (W)
1 North Texas 7-5 5-25 +2
A&M-Corpus Christi 4-8 2-27 +2
Niagara 3-8 1-29 +2
William & Mary 5-3 3-26 +2
5 Vermont 6-4 5-25 +1
Cal St. Northridge 5-5 4-26 +1
Southern Ill. 3-6 2-28 +1
Mercer 3-7 2-27 +1
Rider 6-3 5-25 +1
Fasten Your Seat Belts
North Texas opens its 12th season of Sun Belt Play against UALR, and the Mean Green has a 9-2 record in Sun Belt openers, losing in 2002-03 and 2010-11. The Mean Green open the Sun Belt schedule at home for the third consecutive year, and second straight year against UALR. North Texas is 80-99 in Sun Belt play.
Only In Horseshoes
Despite having six losses on the season, North Texas has been in position to win every game, having a chance to tie on one possession in the last 10 minutes in four of six losses, and a chance to tie in the second half of all of the losses.
Latest Lead Latest Poss. to Tie
Game Result Time Score Time Score
Oral Roberts L, 60-67 12:17 42-41 11:39 42-45
Arizona L, 62-69 16:24 (1st) 4-3 2:46 61-66 (Tech FT + Poss.)
Tulane L, 47-55 8:16 (1st) 15-14 17:50 28-30
Missouri State L, 67-78 None 3:13 63-66
Texas L, 61-72 8:13 52-50 7:15 52-54
Nicholls L ot, 64-67 4:25 52-51 0:00 (ot) 64-67
The Eyes Of Texas
North Texas nearly shocked the state, before running out of steam and falling 71-62 to No. 24 Texas on Dec. 17. North Texas used an 18-6 run to take a 34-25 halftime lead over the Longhorns, and led by as many as 13 and led until 8:13 of the second half, before running out of steam and seeing Texas come back to win the game. North Texas, playing short-handed, only used eight players in the game. North Texas has never beaten a ranked team, and had not led Texas at any point in the game since 2005-06 before playing with the ‘Horns for 32 minutes on Dec. 17.
The Real McCoy
Laura McCoy sank four 3-pointers, the second-most for a North Texas player this year, on her way to a career-high 14 points at No. 24 Texas on Dec. 17. Playing in front of her extended family, she helped North Texas hold a lead over No. 24 Texas for most of the game. North Texas hit eight total 3-pointers against Texas, its second-highest total this year.
Taking Care Of Buisness
North Texas is 6-1 against teams that did not make the postseason in 2010-11, and is 1-5 against teams that did qualify for the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season. North Texas has five games remaining in league play against 2011 postseason teams; two against Sun Belt Tournament champ UALR, and WNIT participant Denver, and one against NCAA At-Large pick Middle Tennessee.
Mean Green Ranked 31st Among Mid-Majors
North Texas was ranked 31st and recieved votes for the third straight week in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 poll released on Dec. 20. The Mean Green received 16 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. 16 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 34-of-36 on the year in free throws, and leds all of Division I with a percentage of 97.0% in the most recent statistical report. 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, Tamara Torru (9th SBC, 173rd NCAA) and Brittney Hudson (10th SBC, 184th NCAA) rank in the top 15 of the Sun Belt, and top 200 nationally, in free throw percentage.
Tam Can Do It All
Tamara Torru has been an all-around contributor for the Mean Green, being the only player who has led the team at least once in a single game in each of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and has led in each category three times or more. In fact, she is the only North Texas player this season to have games of 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists, 2+ blocks, and 3+ steals. She ranks in the top 15 of the Sun Belt in 11 different categories.
Mean Green Features Nation's 5th-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 in the most recent national report, at 59.2 points per game, improving by 14.1 points, which is the fifth-largest improvement in the nation. and 213 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 59.2 38.3
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 is second in the Sun Belt Conference in defensive 3-point percentage and ranks third in defensive field goal percentage. The Mean Green rank 153th nationally in field goal percentage defense and 63rd nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense.
Torru Draining The Three
Tamara Torru is shooting 18-of-37 (.486) from beyond the arc this season, which leads the Sun Belt Conference, 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 (226 offensive rebounds, 315 defensive rebounds allowed), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 201 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.89 points per play), and have only allowed 94 second-chance points on 163 offensive rebounds allowed (0.58 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 2.7 steals per game. She is on pace to get 78 steals this season, which would be just 14 off the North Texas record.
Godbolt Ranks Second In Double-Doubles
Jasmine Godbolt has picked up four double-doubles from Nov. 22 to Dec. 11, and has vaulted to second in the Sun Belt Conference, and 27th 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 on Nov. 29
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, with both sports having an SMU alumnus on support staff. 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) that game.
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.
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
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.
North Texas On The Tube
The Sun Belt Network televises three NT women's basketball conference games this season:
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 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 (7-5), Season-opening double-double (Tamara Torru, 13 pts, 12 reb), Held opponents to 60 points or less over a season (in progress)
2003-04: Had a player shoot over .900 on FTs for the season (Laura McCoy, 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)