North Texas Daily

Strong guard play fuels women’s basketball win over SMU

Strong guard play fuels women’s basketball win over SMU

December 02
12:21 2015

Brady Keane | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

After holding a 14-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Mean Green women’s basketball team watched as Southern Methodist University stormed back on a 14-0 run to grab a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

While the Mean Green (2-3) might have given up last season and watched a win slip away, first year head coach Jalie Mitchell has instilled a sense of resiliency in the team this season. That resiliency was evident through the play of the backcourt Tuesday night, as juniors Kelsey Criner and Candice Adams led the Mean Green to their first win over SMU (3-3) since the 2011-2012 season, combining for 29 points in a 60-57 win.

“They were awesome down the stretch,” Mitchell said. “Those two provide a lot of leadership for us. I think they were trying to will us to this victory, from the plays that they made on the court to their leadership and energy, they stepped up big for us.”

The backcourt has been the strongest unit for the team this season, and the group continued its strong start to the season. Criner was the difference maker late in the win, as the junior knocked down a key three point shot to regain the lead and secure a victory.

“Kelsey is like the only person who can make those kind of plays,” Mitchell said. “It’s needed, and I think her teammates look to her to do those kind of things. She is a tough guard.”

Fittingly, Adams assisted Criner on the basket.

“I saw Candice driving and saw her getting stuck,” Criner said. “I saw my player kind of helping off a little bit, so I called her name and she happened to find me. I just knew it was going in.”

Criner came into the game averaging just eight points per game, but finished with a season-high 17 points and added a team-high eight rebounds in the win. The junior point guard combined with Adams for 29 points – nearly half of the team’s final total.

“We were resilient,” junior guard Candice Adams said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves, so I think that’s what really helped us.”

After losing back-to-back games to Texas State University and the University of Arizona by a total of just nine points, the Mean Green used Adams and Criner’s leadership and experience in tight situations to overcome the late SMU run.

However, the Mean Green backcourt said the team has been able to improve by not focusing too much on past results this season.

“We definitely want to learn from each of our games,” Adams said. “But the last game doesn’t affect how we come out in the next game.”

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