North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball continues to shine defensively in dominant win over La Salle

Women’s basketball continues to shine defensively in dominant win over La Salle

Women’s basketball continues to shine defensively in dominant win over La Salle
December 09
18:33 2017

La Salle University won the opening tip off and that’s when the vaunted North Texas defense locked in. The Mean Green forced three turnovers on the Explorers’ first three possessions and suffocated their guards in the half court the whole game, forcing them into 27 turnovers.

Their defensive effort led to a 70-44 win over La Salle Saturday afternoon at home.

“We talked a lot about setting the tone,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “The last couple games we hadn’t come out and started the way we wanted to start and I think we paid attention to that and changed it tonight.”

The Mean Green’s (7-2) defensive pressure on the perimeter forced the Explorers (4-6) to shoot  0-of-5 from three.

And when the guards were beat off the dribble, the Explorers were met with crisp rotations of the North Texas bigs, who were not interested in blocking the shots but altering them without fouling.

“We practice closeouts everyday and it’s very important to our defense,” junior guard Brittany Smith. “Also, in the game plan we know whether to closeout long or short. We rely a lot on our defense because we do it so well, [then] we can go in transition.”

The 27 forced turnovers were second most this season for a team that forces over 22 per game.

While the Mean Green were doing that defensively, offensively, their guards were taking care of the ball while dishing out 11 total assists to only 11 turnovers as a team.

“From the pace, the tempo to the delivery, I thought [the guards] took care of the ball,” Mitchell said. “We went inside a lot today and I thought we had some really nice passes. We read the pick and rolls very well and understood how to get it inside and we made some great decisions.”

North Texas was led by freshman guard Lauren Holmes who totaled 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Holmes also shot 3-of-7 from behind the arc. She was joined in double figures by Smith who scored 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting and junior post Micayla Buckner who dropped 10.

The spacing Holmes and other shooters gave the bigs plenty of room to operate in the paint, where the Mean Green scored 36 points.

“I just work all the time on my shot,” Holmes said. “I just have to be confident, I can’t ever think it’s not going in. All of my coaches and my teammates just tell me to keep shooting.”

Junior guard Terriell Bradley also pitched in eight points and seven rebounds in thirty minutes.

North Texas is now 5-1 at home and continues to lower their scoring defense which is already second in the country.

With three games remaining before the start of the conference season, the play as well as the confidence of this team continues to incline.

“[Our confidence] is very high,” Smith said. “Just from our recent games, our defense has been the go-to for us, so going into other games [we know] we can rely on our defense [to win].”

Next up: The Mean Green and their defense travel to take on the University of Illinois at Chicago on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.

Featured Image: North Texas junior post Micayla Buckner (34) puts of a shot against Lasalle. Rachel Walters

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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