North Texas Daily

Conference-leading Hilltoppers hand women’s basketball third straight loss

Conference-leading Hilltoppers hand women’s basketball third straight loss

North Texas junior guard Terriel Bradley (23) drives the ball against Western Kentucky.

Conference-leading Hilltoppers hand women’s basketball third straight loss
January 27
01:49 2018

Things looked promising when North Texas jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the game’s opening quarter. The ball swung around the court with precision on offense and, defensively, the Mean Green were contesting most of the shots taken by Western Kentucky University.

In that moment, North Texas looked like number three scoring defense in the country, while the Hilltoppers looked anything but the top offense in Conference USA. Things started to unravel for North Texas quickly though, as the turnovers mounted, allowing Western Kentucky to go on a 16-4 run.

Once the Hilltoppers got in the driver seat there was no looking back, resulting in North Texas’ third straight loss of the season, this time by the final score of 79-65.

“We knew it was going to be difficult,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “They are difficult to guard because they are so versatile. But at the same time, they had two other players in double figures. We needed to hold them and make sure those two players didn’t do that.”

North Texas (11-8, 2-5) entered Friday night’s game allowing only 53 points per game. The Hilltoppers’ (15-5, 6-1) 79 points were the most the Mean Green allowed an opponent to score all season. On a night were junior guard Terriell Bradley had a career-high 29 points, the performance was overshadowed by the lack of offense provided by her teammates.

“We pressed a little bit,” Mitchell said. “We weren’t able to get in sync on offense. We were giving up possessions. And when we did break the press I thought we rushed at time.”

North Texas did a better job protecting the ball in the second half, only coughing up five turnovers compared to the 16 in the first half.

Early on, the offense was stagnant. At one point North Texas was down 22 and managed to cut the lead down to 11. Much of that had to do with adjustments made by the coaches and the players feeling more relaxed on the court.

“We were breaking the press they were in, so they really couldn’t set up,” sophomore forward Jada Poland said.  “We slowed it down and started to just run our offense.”

Although they had a late-game rally, North Texas had no answers for Western Kentucky’s Ivy Brown and Tashia Brown. The two finished with 44 points combined.

“Defensively, I thought we stuck to our game plan,” Mitchell said. “Except for sending Tashia Brown to the free throw line too many times and allowing two players other than Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown to score in double figures.”

Despite another loss, Mitchell knows there is a lot to learn from this game that can help them down the road as they attempt to stop this losing skid.

“It’s a learning lesson,” Mitchell said. “I think it something we will take and learn from. I don’t think we were down on ourselves at all. I think all three games we take something and learn from. I think it’s just preparing us for what’s to come.”

Next up: North Texas looks to bounce back Sunday at 3 p.m. against the University of Texas at San Antonio at home.

Featured image: North Texas junior guard Terriell Bradley (23) drives the ball against Western Kentucky. Trevon McWilliams

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Jordan James

Jordan James

Sports writer covering Mean Green Sports and more

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