Game 15 • Saturday, December 31, 2011 • 1:00 p.m.
Troy Trojans (1-11, 0-1 Sun Belt) at
North Texas Mean Green (8-6, 1-0 Sun Belt)
Denton, Texas • The Super Pit (10,500)
Radio: KNTU 88.1 FM • TV: None
Series Record: North Texas leads 7-3
Last Meeting: W, 72-57 (1/15/2011) at Troy
Mean Green Take On Troy On New Year's Eve
North Texas opened the Sun Belt season with a 64-57 win over UALR, the Mean Green's first win over the defending Sun Belt Tournament champion since 2005-06, and look to move to 2-0 in Sun Belt play for the first time since that 2005-06 season and for only the third time overall against Troy. The Mean Green snapped a four-game losing streak against UALR, in what was North Texas' first home game in 19 days. Tamara Torru came three assists and three rebounds short of a triple-double against UALR.
Briefly On The Mean Green
• North Texas is one of two teams nationally to have three 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 14.2 points, the fifth-most in the nation
• Laura McCoy led Division I in the most recent ranking with a free-throw percentage of .970
• The Mean Green's RPI is 107th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference
• 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. Troy
North Texas leads the all-time series against Troy 7-3, including a 72-57 win at Troy last season, North Texas' only road win for the season. North Texas is 3-1 against Troy in the Super Pit, with the only loss coming in overtime on Jan. 28, 2009. Before last seasons' victory, North Texas had lost three of its last four matchups against Troy.
Mean Green Working On Nation's Best Turnaround
North Texas has improved its record from 5-25 in 2010-11 to 8-6 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 three more than their total last year, and one of only 12 teams in Division I to have won more than their total from 2010-11 already.
Biggest Turnarounds - Division I - 2011-12 (Through Dec. 28)
Rank School 2011-12 2010-11 Change (W)
1 North Texas 8-6 5-25 +3
William & Mary 6-5 3-26 +3
3 A&M-Corpus Christi 4-9 2-27 +2
Niagara 3-8 1-29 +2
Rider 7-3 5-25 +2
6 Seven Teams +1
Auld Lang Syne
The Mean Green are 2-4 on New Year's Eve, dropping their two most-recent New Year's Eve showdowns, at UALR in 2009 and hosting Middle Tennessee in 2008. The Dec. 31 games in 2009 and 2008 were the Mean Green's first conference games on New Year's Eve, and are 0-2 in Sun Belt Games on New Year's Eve.
Fasten Your Seat Belts
North Texas opened its 12th season of Sun Belt Play with a 64-57 win UALR on Dec. 28, and while the Mean Green has a 9-2 record in Sun Belt openers, North Texas is 2-7 in its second Sun Belt game after winning the opener, only starting 2-0 in 2004-05 and 2005-06. North Texas' only 3-0 start in Sun Belt play came in 2004-05, with wins over New Mexico St., Denver and FIU.
In North Texas' eight wins this season, the Mean Green have trailed for a total of 49 seconds combined in the second half. North Texas had two deficits of 1 point to overcome for a total of 34 seconds early in the second half against SMU on Nov. 22, and trailed by a point for 15 seconds and one possession from 18:28 to 18:08 of the second half against Alabama on Dec. 9. The Mean Green have wired their opponents in the second half a total of six times this season.
Nearing A Triple Double
Tamara Torru sniffed a triple-double against UALR on Dec. 28, coming three assists and three rebounds short of North Texas' first-ever triple double. Her seven assists were the most by a North Texas player since Dec. 13, 2010, and a personal career-high. Additionally, Torru came two steals and four blocks of a 5x5, which also would have been a North Texas first.
Starting Is Stanley's Cup Of Tea
Sara Stanley has performed well since being inserted into the starting lineup on Dec. 11, averaging 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in that four-game span, including a career-high 13 point performance against UALR on Dec. 28. As a reserve, Stanley averages 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
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 2-5 against teams that did qualify for the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season. North Texas has four games remaining in league play against 2011 postseason teams; one against Sun Belt Tournament champ UALR, two against WNIT participant Denver, and one against NCAA At-Large pick Middle Tennessee.
Mean Green Ranked Among Mid-Majors
North Texas was ranked 46th and recieved votes for the fourth straight week in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 poll released on Dec. 20. The Mean Green have a total of five games scheduled against teams in the poll, having lost 78-67 to No. 9 Missouri State, lost 70-60 to No. 18 Oral Roberts, and has games remaining against No. 17 Middle Tennessee and a home-and-home with No. 23 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 four 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 59.1 points per game, improving by 14.2 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.
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-41 (.439) 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.
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 41.7% offensive rebounding percentage (240 offensive rebounds, 336 defensive rebounds allowed), which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green have scored 216 second-chance points on offensive rebounds (0.90 points per play), and have only allowed 103 second-chance points on 178 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 2.6 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.
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 three of its last four games this season at the Super Pit and six of its last eight non-conference home games dating back to the start of 2010-11. Since 1998-99, North Texas is 106-56 (.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
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 (8)
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), defeated the defending SBC Tournament Champion (UALR)
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)