North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball loses hard fought game on road at Middle Tennessee

Women’s basketball loses hard fought game on road at Middle Tennessee

January 07
21:12 2017

Matt Brune | Staff Writer

Two streaks met Saturday night as North Texas women’s basketball battled Middle Tennessee State University on the road.

On one hand, the Mean Green (5-10, 2-2) had won two straight in Conference USA play. On the other, North Texas had not won in Murfreesboro, Tennessee since 2002, when their head coach Jalie Mitchell scored 21 points in a Mean Green win.

Either North Texas would break their 14-year drought or the Blue Raiders (8-6, 3-0) would end North Texas’ mini win streak. The latter occurred, as Middle Tennessee defeated the Mean Green 60-52 in a close game that was tied with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Neither team played particularly, well as North Texas shot 35 percent from the field, while Middle Tennessee shot 34 percent.

The Mean Green led 22-19 after the rough first half, but it was not enough against an uber-talented Blue Raiders team.

“I thought that in the first half with Petty out [due to foul trouble], we needed to get our lead a little bigger and we didn’t do that,” Mitchell said. “We have to slow down and get great shots and make [those] great shots.”

The defense once again shined for North Texas, despite being down their best defender in senior guard Kelsey Criner. Middle Tennessee posted their lowest scoring half, shot 3-of-20 from three-point land, and shot eight percent below their average field goal percentage.

“Well the gameplan was to double team [Alex Johnson] and make it hard for her to pass out,” sophomore guard Tyara Warren said. “And we’d have to rotate out of that, and that’s what really kept us in the game because we’d force them to take bad shots.”

Mitchell never took three players off of the court during the game in Warren, senior guard Candice Adams and sophomore guard Terriell Bradley. Bradley had a relatively big game, posting 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Mean Green nearly matched their average in turnovers per game with 19, as the Blue Raider defense made life equally difficult for them over the course of the game.

“[Offense] was definitely challenging, their defense was really good,” Warren said. “Their defense had hard denies so a lot of our plays [struggled], and we couldn’t do dribble handoffs.”

While the loss does not taste good for Mitchell and company, staying with a Blue Raiders team that beat them by 24 last year shows the vast improvement made by the team just in the last month.

Sitting squarely in the middle of the C-USA table, the Mean Green appear to be hitting their stride, and Mitchell knows this team is close to getting where they want to go.

“We’re really close to being a championship team,” Mitchell said. “But it takes a little more.”

Next up: North Texas returns home to take on Rice University at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Featured image: North Texas senior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the lane against Incarnate Word. The Mean Green improved to 3-6 on the season after the win. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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