Women Open C-USA Slate Against UTSA On New Year’s Day
Mean Green Look For 6-5 Record, Three-Game Win Streak Versus Roadrunners
Senior Acheil Tac leads NT with 10.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in 2015-16. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
|North Texas Women's Basketball vs. UTSA|
|Date | Time||Friday, January 1, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. CT|
|Location||Denton, TX | The Super Pit|
|Stream||Mean Green All-Access ($)|
|Radio||Mean Green Radio Network - 88.1 KNTU-FM|
|Steven Bartolotta (Play-by-Play)|
|Game Notes||North Texas | UTSA | Conference USA|
DENTON — The North Texas women’s basketball team will return to the Super Pit for the first time in nearly a month when it hosts UTSA in what will be the first Conference USA game of the season for both teams. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
Ten days removed from a win that moved the team to 5-5 on the year, the Mean Green have already matched their win total from all of last season and ride into Friday’s contest looking for its third consecutive win.
But, despite any semblance of achievement in the young 2015-16 campaign, head coach Jalie Mitchell made it clear that the real season has yet to begin.
“I’m fairly pleased with what we did in non-conference play and I think the girls are excited to have accomplished the same amount of wins that they did last year,” Mitchell said. “I think we’re in a great place mentally and are ready to try and do some damage in conference play. At the same time, we’re 0-0 right now.”
North Texas, the team picked to finish last in C-USA’s preseason poll, turned plenty of heads in its first 10 non-conference games and will be looking to carry over similar success into league play. It is Mitchell’s hope that such external doubt can be used as motivation for the remainder of the season.
“I don’t want to talk about our five wins or anything we’ve done to this point,” the first-year coach added. “I want to talk about going forward and making some noise. I want to see to it that every time we step onto the floor against an opponent, our team realizes that these people picked you last in the conference and we have something to prove.”
The Mean Green will follow Friday’s game with a home contest against UTEP, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 3, from the Super Pit.
On the Air
• The game can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network (KNTU 88.1 FM) with Steven Bartolotta. Pregame coverage will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to Friday’s 2 p.m. tipoff. A live stream of the contest can also be viewed for a charge through Mean Green All-Access.
A Look at the Series
• North Texas leads the all-time series with UTSA, 14-9, including a 9-3 mark from Denton.
• Despite a promising all-time advantage, the Roadrunners are an unblemished 3-0 against the Mean Green as members of Conference USA. Two of those three games were played in Denton.
• The two squads last faced off from TWU’s Kitty Magee Arena in the final game of the 2014-15 season. Despite NT leading for 32 of the 40 minutes, the Roadrunners forced 17 second-half turnovers to take a 57-54 win. The Mean Green went 20-of-23 (.870) from the charity stripe for the team’s best free throw percentage of the year.
• Nail-biters are common in this series. In fact, UTSA escaped with a 58-56 win in the last game played from the Super Pit. NT stormed back from an 18-point deficit and delivered on a three-point basket with six seconds to play before the Roadrunners hit a buzzer-beating three to take the win.
• UTSA enters the matchup with a 4-6 record on the year, having lost its last two matchups to in-state rivals Texas Southern and UT Arlington.
• Last time out: UTSA set a program record with 16 blocks in a 59-44 loss to TSU. Both teams combined for 29 total blocks, setting an NCAA record. No Roadrunner reached double figures but Alexus Dukes and Kasia Kiejdrowska led the box score with nine points each. Tesha Smith and Akunna Elonu combined for 21 rebounds with 11 and 10, respectively.
• The Roadrunners rank fifth in C-USA for shooting, knocking down 42.5 percent of their shots from the floor. Overall, UTSA averages a respectable 65.9 points per game.
• Individually, UTSA’s unit is centered around balance. In fact, Tesha Smith (12.8 ppg) is the only player that has a double-digit scoring average for the Runners, while six other players chip in at least five points per contest.
• NT and UTSA share two common non-con opponents in 2015-16 - Texas State and Oklahoma. The Mean Green split the two games by beating #17 Oklahoma (61-57) before falling to Texas State (62-64) five days later. On the other hand, the Roadrunners fell to the Sooners (41-80) and the Bobcats (64-72) in back-to-back games.
• UTSA’s Loryn Goodwin is sitting out the year due to transfer regulations, but at one time she was sitting on the Mean Green bench. The junior won Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors while on the NT roster in 2012-13, averaging 13.1 points per game and setting the program’s record for made threes in a season (65). She later transferred to Butler before making her way back to Texas this season.
Scouting North Texas
• The Mean Green returns to the court after an unexpected 10-day layoff. NT knocked off Incarnate Word, 62-55, in San Antonio on Dec. 21 for its first back-to-back wins of the season.
• Weather-related travel concerns resulted in the cancellation of Tuesday’s final non-conference matchup against Oklahoma Panhandle State.
• North Texas hasn’t played at home since a thrilling 68-67 win over IUPUI on Dec. 5, 2015. The team sits at 5-5 for the first time since 2013-14 and have matched NT’s win total from a season ago.
• A victory versus UTSA would put NT over .500 through 11 games for the first time since 2011-12, when the team finished at 15-16 under head coach Karen Aston following a 5-25 finish a season prior. This year’s three non-conference wins on the road is also NT’s best since Aston’s squad had four in 2011-12.
• Senior Acheil Tac continues to be an all-around weapon for NT. She already has four double-doubles on the season and is leading the team with 10.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Her field goal percentage (.612) is tied for second in C-USA while she comes in at fifth in rebounding (7.9 rpg).