North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball loses fourth straight in tight battle with UTEP

Women’s basketball loses fourth straight in tight battle with UTEP

January 28
18:40 2018

Early on, it looked as if those in attendance were in for a Sunday matinee shootout at the Super Pit. Both North Texas (11-9, 2-6) and visiting University of Texas at El Paso (13-7, 4-3) shot at least 60 percent in the first quarter before cooling off considerably in what became a defensive chess match.

Both club’s hot shooting was turned on its head and the two squads ended up shooting just above 35 percent and combined for only 13 fourth quarter points. In the end, the Mean Green came up short in the final seconds, losing 50-48, suffering their fourth consecutive loss.

“I thought we picked it up defensively in the second half,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “But as I told the team, we have to figure out how to get back to playing 40 minutes of that kind of defense versus just 20.”

Junior guard Terriell Bradley continued her hot scoring run with 22 points Sunday afternoon. After setting a new season-high of 29 Friday against Western Kentucky, Sunday marked her third straight game of at least 21 points, however even she struggled, shooting just 7-of-18 from the field.

Junior Terriell Bradley tees up a three-pointer

North Texas left eight points at the free throw line, converting on 10-of-18 attempts (56 percent). A clutch three-pointer from junior point guard Brittany Smith gave the Mean Green a 46-45 lead with 3:03 to play.  The lead would not hold, though, as UTEP’s Katarina Zac hit a three just 29 seconds later, halting all Mean Green momentum.

“It was a big shot for [UTEP],” Mitchell said of the counter. “[It] definitely stopped our momentum a little bit. I think it was a bad judgement defensively for us to leave [Katarina Zec] open. It was a big shot.”

A previously shining home record of 8-2 is still an quality 8-4, but the losses have brought concerns for Mitchell and the team. During the losing streak, North Texas is shooting just 36 percent from the field. Outside of a 42 percent effort against Western Kentucky University, that number tumbles to 33 percent.

Foul trouble once again plagued junior post Micayla Buckner throughout the game. Buckner picked up four fouls, limiting her to 25 minutes. Also falling victim to foul trouble was freshman forward Deja Terrell, who fouled out in 15 minutes.

Freshman Trena Mims set a new season-high with seven assists, two days after notching her previous best with six against the Hilltoppers. The Mean Green defense held the Miners to only 16 points in the second half but it was not enough to come out of the Super Pit with a win.

“We just started fighting harder,” Smith said. “Our defense picked up from the first half and we started playing more aggressive on both ends.”

Next up: North Texas faces the University of Texas at San Antonio at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2.

Featured image: Freshman Point Guard Trena Mims (24) pushes past defense towards the basket. North Texas was only a few points behind with eight and a half minutes left in the first half. Josh Jamison

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Asher Feltman

Asher Feltman

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