Setting A Tone
Mean Green Host Oklahoma Panhandle State In Their Non-Conference Finale
DENTON — The North Texas women’s basketball team hosts Oklahoma Panhandle State University on Saturday at 3 p.m. in what will be the Mean Green’s last non-conference game of the season and its final game of 2017.
A year that began with an epic New Year’s Day victory over Old Dominion has proceeded to be UNT’s most successful since 2005.
After going 9-22 in the 2016 calendar year, North Texas has built off its New Year’s Day victory and posted a 17-13 record in 2017.
But before the Mean Green can celebrate their prosperous year or switch gears to conference play, which begins Jan. 3 at Louisiana Tech, the nation’s No. 3 scoring defense must tighten up a few things on the defensive end and bounce back after an uncharacteristic showing on their recent Midwest road trip.
“We got away from who we are,” said freshman guard Lauren Holmes. “We know we are a lot better than what we showed.”
North Texas (8-3) returns to the Super Pit on Saturday after splitting its two-game road trip to UIC and Eastern Illinois.
Holmes, who missed their most recent game with a foot injury, has been cleared to play, which is a great sight for the Mean Green as she and redshirt junior Terriell Bradley have led the team on the defensive end.
“We need to set the tone early,” Bradley said. “Get back to the principles of great defense — being vocal, matching up, executing the defensive game plan and working hard. The defense will lead to offense.”
Through their first 11 games the Mean Green have held their opponents to 51.1 points per game and have scored 214 points off turnovers, an average of nearly 20 points per game.
“At the same time we need to take care of the ball better too,” Bradley added.
Along with uncharacteristically struggling on defense over the last two games, North Texas themselves turned the ball over a lot, which hadn’t been a problem in the first nine games.
“If we set the tone early on defense it will allow everything else to fall into place,” Holmes said. “Dominance is best asserted on defense.”
Saturday’s game against the Heartland Conference’s Aggies (8-2) comes 10 days after the Mean Green’s overtime win at Eastern Illinois.
The time off has been good
“In the last few practices since we got back from the break our energy has been up,” Bradley said. “ We’re right there on the edge of being great and it’ll be important to set the tone headed into conference play.”