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Women’s basketball holds off Charlotte in first round of C-USA tournament

Women’s basketball holds off Charlotte in first round of C-USA tournament

Junior guard Brittany Smith shoots against University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the first round at the 2018 Conference USA Women’s basketball championship.

Women’s basketball holds off Charlotte in first round of C-USA tournament
March 07
17:37 2018

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte cut the North Texas lead to just four with a 6-0 run and seemed to seize all of the momentum heading into halftime, trailing just 29-25.

But in the final minute, the Mean Green put an end to the 49ers’ run with a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Adrianna Henderson followed by a hard drive and score by junior guard Terriell Bradley. Then, as it seemed like Charlotte would at least get the final shot of the half, Bradley and her teammates forced a turnover, and Bradley stepped past two defenders to finish another layup.

After the bucket, Bradley turned and let out a yell of exuberance and joy as the half expired. The conference tournament is here.

The Mean Green withstood a few Charlotte runs to hold on to the 58-55 win in the first round of the Conference USA tournament Wednesday afternoon.

“I loved how we played in that first half,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “I would have loved for us to do some things better down the stretch, but either way, we were resilient. We continued to fight, and we came out with the win.”

Another one of the 49ers’ runs came in the third quarter, when they went on a 12-12 run over 4:30, cutting the North Texas lead to 46-42.

However, the Mean Green never allowed Charlotte to come closer than three until the final seconds. While the team had three players in double figures, Bradley led the team with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

“You just have to look forward to the next play,” Bradley said. “We had a few turnovers toward the end, but then we went back to our defense.”

North Texas’ defense held Charlotte to 41.7 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers, which they turned into 18 points.

Then, after having zero free throws in the first half, the Mean green got to the line 12 times, converting on six of them. Despite the misses, the aggression at the basket was more prominent.

“It was definitely a point of emphasis [at half],” Bradley said of their free throw numbers. “In the second half, we were a lot more aggressive and were drawing fouls.”

Bradley was joined in double figures by junior guard Grace Goodhart and freshman guard Lauren Holmes.

Holmes scored all 11 of her points in her first seven minutes on the court and pushed North Texas into the early lead. Goodhart, meanwhile went 4-of-8 for the game and hit essentially the dagger 3-pointer, putting the Mean Green up six with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter.

“We were ready for their zone, so we talked about ball movement and finding the open shot, and a lot of them we knocked down and some we didn’t,” Mitchell said. “Grace and Lauren knocked some big ones down and so did [Bradley], and Micayla [Buckner] was a force down low, and we need all of that to be successful.”

This has already been a notable season for the Mean Green, and they add to their legacy in Mitchell’s third season with their second consecutive year with a conference tournament win.

“I love that we are continuing to extend our season, and this is a team that deserves it,” Mitchell said. “They fought hard for this kind of opportunity all year. I’m looking forward to preparing for LA Tech and showing up well tomorrow.”

Featured image: Junior guard Brittany Smith shoots against University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the first round at the 2018 Conference USA Women’s basketball championship. 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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