North Texas Daily

Shillow’s career night overshadowed by heartbreaking loss

Shillow’s career night overshadowed by heartbreaking loss

January 30
17:23 2016

Brady Keane | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

Freshman guard Orianna Shillow entered Saturday’s game between North Texas and Rice University with just two minutes of playing time all season. The walk-on freshman guard was then inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season, and it didn’t take long for her impact to be felt on the court.

“[Shillow] earned it,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “She deserved the right to start today, and I think she showed you guys why.”

In her first start at the collegiate level, the walk-on from Stony Point High School proceeded to knock down a season-high five three pointers on her way to a team-high 16 points.

“I was pretty nervous, but the coaches and my teammates believed in me, so I just wanted to go out there and give the team momentum,” Shillow said. “I knew my role was to play great defense and get rebounds, but that was just a bonus.”

Despite Shillow’s dominant scoring performance, the Mean Green was unable to overcome several long scoring droughts and foul trouble in overtime, as Rice pulled away for a 79-73 2OT victory at the Super Pit. The double overtime loss was a heartbreaking one for the Mean Green, as the team entered the matchup looking to avenge a triple overtime loss to the Owls from earlier in the month.

But for the second straight game between the two schools, the Mean Green struggled with foul trouble late in the game. Both junior guard Kelsey Criner and senior forward Acheil Tac fouled out, and without those two on the court, the Mean Green offense struggled mightily.

“It’s almost the same story as the first time we played them,” Mitchell said. “That always affects you down the line. I’m playing without my starting point guard and my starting post, and that leaves us short as far as points and rebounds. It’s tough.”

Although Shillow stole the show in her starting lineup debut, junior guard Candice Adams proved to be clutch yet again late in the game. Earlier this season, Adams had key assists on three-point shots that clinched wins for the Mean Green over Southern Methodist University and Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis.

This time, it was Adams on the scoring end of a key three-point play.

After the Mean Green fought back from six points down with less than a minute remaining and forced a turnover late in the fourth quarter, Adams was fouled on a three-point shot from the corner with three seconds remaining. The junior guard proceeded to knock down all three must-have free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“They’re free throws,” Adams said. “They’re free. We work on free throws in practice, and it’s nothing to be pressured about.”

However, it was the scoring drought before the Adams’ game-tying free throws that made the difference in the matchup. The Mean Green led by five points with 7:39 remaining in the fourth quarter, but went on a 6:30 scoring drought that allowed Rice to turn the tables late in the game.

Despite struggling to score, the Mean Green still led for more than 33 minutes in the game.

“I think we had every opportunity to win this game,” Mitchell said. “We just didn’t get it done. It was a lot of poor execution in my opinion.”

Featured Image: Before the beginning of the first overtime, North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell gives the team a game plan. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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