North Texas Daily

Criner’s strong performance not enough to snap women’s basketball’s losing streak

Criner’s strong performance not enough to snap women’s basketball’s losing streak

February 13
17:46 2016

Brady Keane | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

For the second time this season, Mean Green women’s basektball was unable to pull out a win despite a huge game from junior point guard Kelsey Criner. Criner scored 34 points in a triple overtime loss to Rice University on Jan. 10, and the junior guard led all scorers with 25 points in Saturday’s loss to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

This time, Criner’s scoring sparked a 14-point turnaround that gave North Texas a lead over the highest scoring offense in Conference USA midway through the fourth quarter.

However, the Mean Green was unable to hold on to the lead in an 82-70 loss, as Charlotte’s offense exploded down the stretch for a 32-point fourth quarter.

“They won the fourth quarter, and they won the game,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “I thought our effort was better today. We made a comeback after halftime, but the fourth quarter is what made the difference.”

Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the basket for a layup against the Charlotte 49ers. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the basket for a layup against the Charlotte. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Ultimately, Criner’s heroics and clutch play is what kept North Texas in the game. The junior entered the fourth quarter with 13 points, but her play picked up in the fourth and final frame, scoring 12 of her 25 points. The game marked Criner’s fourth contest this season with 19 or more points.

While Criner and the offense began to build some momentum in the second half, the Mean Green was successful in slowing down the high-powered Charlotte offense in the second and third quarters. North Texas chipped away at a 13-point deficit before tying the game and eventually taking the lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“Our defense was doing pretty good,” Criner said. “Our offense was finding the open person, taking the ball to the hole, and getting offensive rebounds. That’s what contributed to the comeback.”

While Criner took over the scoring side of the offensive comeback, senior Acheil Tac had a strong game rebounding to help the Mean Green gain an advantage in the transition game. Tac finished the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and adding 11 rebounds.

“It had a huge impact,” Tac said. “Whenever we rebound the ball, we can run in transition and get some easy points. Rebounding the ball is a very important part of our transition game, so that helped us out.”

While North Texas stayed competitive throughout the game, the team still failed to close out the fourth quarter. North Texas has just six games remaining to snap out its five-game losing streak before the C-USA tournament, including two road games next week.

“It’s not one that can’t be turned around,” Mitchell said of the team’s losing streak. “I’m still coaching my team, and we’re still fighting. Next week should be a different story.”

Featured Image: Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) Drives the basket in an attempt to score against the Charlotte. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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