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Women’s basketball completes historic upset of No. 17 Oklahoma

Women’s basketball completes historic upset of No. 17 Oklahoma

North Texas junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) works around a San Fransisco defender during Friday night's game. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Women’s basketball completes historic upset of No. 17 Oklahoma
November 16
22:43 2015

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

After a disappointing loss to start the season against San Francisco University, first year head coach Jalie Mitchell and the North Texas women’s basketball squad roared back in surprising fashion to upset No. 17 Oklahoma University (1-1, 0-0) on the road by a score of 61-57.

It was the program’s first ever win over a ranked opponent.

“I’m ecstatic,” Mitchell said. “I’m just super proud of my team. One thing we talked about in the beginning was being resilient, and I thought that we were. We came out with a great start. Of course we knew OU was going to fight back at some point, and I thought we held our own. We kept our poise and made sure we took care of business and took care of what we started.”

The offense was spread out throughout the group with every player getting on the score sheet. The Mean Green (1-1, 0-0) also had four players in double digits, despite ending up in foul trouble late after three players fouled out. The four in double digits were junior guards Terra Ellison and Kelsey Criner, senior guard Teadra Jones, and senior forward Acheil Tac.

Tac fouled out of the contest with 6:46 remaining in the game, finishing with 12 points. Sophomore post players Bria Frierson and Tosin Mabodu would join Tac in fouling out of the game.

North Texas’ leading scorer was junior guard Ellison, who also led the way in the opener for the Mean Green scoring a career high 17 points against SFU. Ellison had 15 points, four rebounds and was 3 of 5 from three-point range. She added to an impressive North Texas night from there, as they shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team – something they struggled with last season.

“I was just comfortable shooting the ball really without thinking,” Ellison said. “I know shooting is what I do best. Just being comfortable is what’s helping me in knocking down my shots.”

The Mean Green never trailed in the game after Candice Adams hit a jumper in the opening minute of the first quarter. The Sooners tried to fight back, but they could only tie. The offensive struggles for the Sooners were in part due to a 30.8 percent night from the field compared to North Texas’ 42.1 percent field goal shooting.

North Texas made the most of Oklahoma’s 18 turnovers, scoring 16 points off of their giveaways. However, the Sooners put the pressure on North Texas as the clock began to wind down in the fourth quarter.

After a 7-0 OU run, Ellison drained a three to put a stop to the Sooner rally. With the game tied late, North Texas went right down the court and answered with a Jones jumper to make the score 57-55. The Sooners went to the line with a chance to tie it, and they executed to tie the game at 57.

But Criner stepped up for the Mean Green in the dying seconds. After a lay-up following the tying Oklahoma free-throws to give North Texas the 59-57 lead, she stole the ball back for the Mean Green, forcing Oklahoma to foul.

“I knew No. 10 was their best shooter. I just knew they were going to put the ball in her hands.” Criner said. “My hands are kinda quick, so I just have to get a hand on the pass. I grabbed it. It was awesome.”

Up by two, Jones went to the free-throw line, where she made one of two free-throws to make the score 60-57 North Texas.

After Oklahoma could not execute on their following possession, Criner was intentionally fouled and went to the line with a chance to ice the game. She did just that, making one of two for a score of 61-57 in favor of North Texas. An ensuing half-court heave by the Sooners was off the mark, signaling the first win in the Jalie Mitchell coaching era for North Texas women’s basketball.

The team returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 21 when it travels to San Marcos, Texas to face the Texas State University Bobcats.

Featured Image: North Texas junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) works around a San Francisco defender during Friday night’s game. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

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