North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball excels on defensive end

Women’s basketball excels on defensive end

Women’s basketball excels on defensive end
January 27
00:04 2015

Reece Waddell / Staff Writer

Despite being 2-16 and near the bottom in Conference USA standings, there is one area the Mean Green women’s basketball team can take pride in.

North Texas has been stifling on the defensive end of the floor in 2015, allowing 59.8 points per game. That’s good enough for fourth  in C-USA through 18 games this season. The team is also in the top five in C-USA in other major defensive categories.

The team’s defensive prowess has only gotten it so far. The Mean Green ranks in the bottom two of every offensive category in C-USA and has had a difficult time scoring. Despite the offensive struggles, head coach Mike Petersen said the team’s defense has been impressive.

“One of the things I’m very proud of is how this team refuses to quit,” Petersen said. “When your offense isn’t working, a lot of teams will fold. This team works on the defensive end, and guards really well. Defense is where we need to hang our hat now because it’s what we do best.”

Even though North Texas is only averaging 49.7 points per game on offense, the Mean Green is on track to set a school record for least points allowed.

“I don’t put emphasis on one end of the floor more than the other. Since last spring, we spent the majority of our time on offense. Believe me, we work on it. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t paid dividends for us,” Petersen said.

Aside from last Thursday’s 92-57 loss on the road at Louisiana Tech University, the most points the Mean Green surrendered this season was 75 to a No. 6 ranked Texas A&M University squad. Petersen said despite the pride he has for his defense, success on one end of the floor will only get a team so far.

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Sophomore forward Eboniey Jeter drives against a Charlotte defender on Jan. 15 at the Super Pit. The team lost 67-58 and are currently 2-16 on the season.

“Defense wins championships if you can score enough points to win a game,” Petersen said.

Senior forward Briesha Wynn said the team has adopted a defensive mindset because of the inability to score on offense.

“Defense is who we are. We’ve definitely developed a defensive mentality. Every game we go hard on the defensive side of the ball,” Wynn said.

One statistic that showcases a team’s defensive ability is turnovers. The Mean Green is averaging 19.7 forced turnovers per game, a mark that junior forward Acheil Tac said is a good measuring stick for the defense.

“We’ve had some incredible takeaways lately. We average 15, 20 a game. Usually if a team gets that many, they convert, score off them and win. Our shots just aren’t falling now like we’d like them to,” Tac said.

Tac said the turnovers on the defensive end have helped compensate for the struggling offense.

“It’s hard to score right now, so we know that we have to do something else,” Tac said. “We have to get steals, turnovers, and score off of them since we can’t get points running our normal offense.”

The Mean Green had the opportunity to win many games largely because of defense, and Tac said there is a lot that goes into being a good defensive team.

“Defense is mostly work ethic, but there’s some strategy too. A lot depends on technique and how you’re going to guard certain players. I feel like we have done that pretty well so far,” Tac said.

Overall, Petersen said he is happy wih the team’s effort.

“This team has done a great job all season long playing defense. It’s without a doubt our biggest strength,” Petersen said.

Featured Image: Sophomore guard Candice Adams dives toward a loose ball against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Jan. 15 at the Super Pit. Photos by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

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