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No. 25 Rice Owls end Mean Green’s three-game winning streak

No. 25 Rice Owls end Mean Green’s three-game winning streak

No. 25 Rice Owls end Mean Green’s three-game winning streak
February 23
19:11 2019

The North Texas women’s basketball team (14-11, 7-6 Conference USA) fell to No. 25 Rice (23-3, 14-0 C-USA) 59-47 on Saturday, ending its three-game winning streak. Senior guard Terriell Bradley moved into sixth all-time in scoring on a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

“I thought it was a good game,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “I’m very proud of our team’s effort. For us offensively, I thought we moved the ball and took the shots we wanted [and] needed to take. I think we needed some more to fall.”

The Mean Green shot 38.5 percent from the field in the game. The Owls shot 50 percent or higher in three of the four quarters, peaking at 70 percent in the third.

“Looking at both halves, we scored one less point in the second half than we did in the first,” Mitchell said. “The biggest difference looking at the halves scoring-wise is obviously their scoring in the second half.”

North Texas held a 24-21 lead heading into halftime, but Rice center Nancy Mulkey’s 24 points helped the Owls take a lead in the second half.

“There were some shots that she took that we could’ve done something about,” Mitchell said. “I think there were some that they were just tough shots and she’s 6’9’’ and there’s not a whole lot that you can do besides just try and keep her uncomfortable.”

Mulkey’s scoring presented a situation where the Mean Green’s defense keyed in on the Oklahoma native’s play, allowing some of Mulkey’s teammates to get more involved in the action.

“I think [our defense keying in is] the natural reaction,” Mitchell said. “I would’ve liked to handle the one-on-one with Mulkey better.”

Mulkey scored her 24 in a variety of ways against North Texas. On some plays, the sophomore used her size as an advantage in the post and on others she stepped outside for a midrange jumper.

“She’s just 6’9’’ with range,” Mitchell said. “It’s not like she’s dunking on us or making the layups under the basket. I thought she made some outside shots too. She’s a tough guard and she had a night.”

The Mean Green were outscored 19-10 in the fourth quarter. With a little over two minutes left to go, freshman Charlene Shepherd drove to the basket and drew a blocking charge that could have cut the Rice lead to five with two completed free throws. The referees met with each other and overturned the call to a charge and Rice hit a three on the next possession to take a ten-point lead.

“I wish I was allowed to comment on referees,” Mitchell said. “I really do. I am not allowed to say anything. No comment. We’ll see [the Owls] again and plan for a different outcome. We know we can beat them. We know that we can play with anybody in this league.”

UP NEXT: The Mean Green will take on Western Kentucky (15-13, 9-5 C-USA) at 2 p.m. on March 2. It will be the team’s final home game of the season and senior night. 

Featured Image: Mean Green head coach Jalie Mitchell looks down after a 69-47 loss to No. 25 Rice at the Super Pit Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Image by: Trevon McWilliams. 

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Caleb Akpan

Caleb Akpan

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