North Texas Daily

Mean Green women’s basketball team pulls away late from UAB

Mean Green women’s basketball team pulls away late from UAB

Mean Green women’s basketball team pulls away late from UAB
February 01
19:16 2014

John Lugo // Sports Editor

After trading baskets throughout the game, the Mean Green women’s basketball team’s defense stepped up in the final minutes to get a 66-58 win against the University of Alabama at Birmingham Saturday afternoon in the Super Pit.

Both team defenses clamped down on each other to start, as both teams scored a combined five points in the first five minutes of the game. The Mean Green (9-12,3-5) led 31-29 at halftime and held UAB (11-9,3-4) to 37 percent shooting, but rebounding kept the Blazers in the game.

“Early in the game, our first shot defense was really good and then we just could not get a rebound,” head coach Mike Petersen said. “In the second half we grinded a little bit better, especially down the stretch.”

UNT slowly built its lead midway through the second half when back-to-back field goals by junior forward Briesha Wynn extended the lead to nine, but the Blazers crept up and tied the game with five minutes remaining.

After losing sophomore forward Alexis Hyder to the personal foul limit with three minutes left in the game, the team’s presence in the paint became vulnerable. She received her fourth foul early in the second half, but Petersen kept her in the game and she responded by playing wary defense for nine more minutes.

“I knew it was not acceptable to not foul out with 12 minutes left in the [second] half, so I just tried to play smart,” Hyder said. “I felt like the refs were on me earlier.”

However, UNT pulled away shortly after Hyder fouled out. A right corner three-pointer by Wynn and a fastbreak layup by junior guard Janis Peterson extended the lead to six with 56 seconds remaining.

The Mean Green shot free throws the rest of the way to secure the win. Wynn said the team’s communication was much more effective and everyone did a good job of taking smart shot attempts.

“Our huddles were much better,” Wynn said. “We had five on the same page in the huddles and out on the floor. When our offense broke down, usually it’s a jack-up shot but I think we kept our focus and we still got good shots that we wanted.”

Another area that helped UAB keep the game close was UNT’s own mistakes, such as multiple traveling violations, offensive fouls and allowing second-chance opportunities.

“The one critique I would have of what we did tonight was I think we had some casual turnovers,” Petersen said. “We just have to dial in a little bit better and try to diminish those mistakes, but those mistakes happen in a basketball game.”

Wynn led the way with 19 points and five rebounds and the team shot 52 percent overall in field goals. The next game for the Mean Green will be against Tulane University at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in New Orleans, La.

Feature photo: Junior forward Briesha Wynn, drives the ball to the basket during the home game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham Saturday afternoon at the Super Pit. Photo by Margaret Saucedo / Staff Photographer 

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