North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball misses C-USA tournament

Women’s basketball misses C-USA tournament

Women’s basketball misses C-USA tournament
March 10
00:02 2015

Reece Waddell / Staff Writer

Up five points with under four minutes to play, all the Mean Green women’s basketball team had to do was preserve the lead against the University of Texas – San Antonio. Win, and the Mean Green would punch its ticket to the Conference USA tournament. Lose, and the season would be over.

Two minutes later, head coach Mike Petersen slammed his Powerade bottle onto the scorer’s table, disgusted. The lead was gone, and North Texas lost 57-54. The team jogged off the court in tears and back into the locker room. The season was over.

“All year it just seemed like we were unable to get over the hump,” Petersen said. “It’s disappointing because I feel like we have competed all season. I have to do a better job of putting our team in a position to win. It’s as simple as that,” Petersen said.

Despite leading for more than 32 minutes of the game Saturday night, the Mean Green was unable to seal the deal. Seventeen of North Texas’ 24 losses of the season were decided by 10 points or fewer, and the team was 4-13 in those games. For the most part, the Mean Green was able to stay with opponents up until the very end of games. Petersen said he believes some of those contests could have gone either way.

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The women’s basketball team huddles to end a timeout on the court during the game on March 5. The team’s efforts to compete in the C-USA championship fell short in the season finale on March 7.

“It’s not a big secret that both of the games this weekend, and this season for that matter, pivoted when we had turnovers. We played teams close,” Petersen said.

The Mean Green is only losing three seniors this offseason. Two of those seniors are starting forward Briesha Wynn, who missed the last four games due to a knee injury, and starting guard BreAnna Dawkins, who had a career night in her final game in a North Texas uniform with 23 points and seven rebounds. Dawkins said she played hard and left everything on the court.

“I have no regrets about my time here,” Dawkins said. “I gave everything I had. Obviously I wanted a different result tonight, but I don’t have any regrets.”

Because the Mean Green is losing only three seniors, Petersen said there is optimism for next season. He said while recruiting new players is important, it’s equally as important to help the players who are already here.

“We won’t know our final roster for a good couple of months,” Petersen said. “I’m excited to work with all of our recruits and all of our players, for that matter. I want to help them all improve so we can do better next year.”

One major issue that plagued North Texas all year was its offense. The Mean Green ranked dead last in nearly every offensive category within C-USA. It finished the year last in scoring at 51.8 points per game, last in field goal percentage at 34.4 percent, last in free throw percentage at 60.8 percent and last in three-point field goal percentage at 24.4 percent.

Petersen said just because the offense struggled to produce all season, it doesn’t mean the team should solely focus on that.

“There isn’t a magic bullet,” Petersen said. “There isn’t just a button or a switch you can press to just get better. This team has a lot to work on and we know that. We have to get better and that starts with me.”

Before coming to North Texas, Petersen was the all-time winningest coach at Wake Forest University, compiling a 125-123 record in eight seasons. In three years coaching for the Mean Green, Petersen has posted a 28-61 record. This season was by far the worst of his career, with the team ending the season at 5-24.

Even after an unsuccessful season, some players remain hopeful that next year will be better. Sophomore forward Eboniey Jeter said there are things the team can take away from a season like this one.

“There’s nowhere to go but up,” Jeter said. “We can absolutely build on this experience and get better.”

When the dust settled, North Texas finished 13th, second to last, in C-USA. With only five wins to its name, the Mean Green enters the offseason and awaits next year, looking to improve.

“One thing I’ve started preaching to myself is keeping an open mind and an open heart. Letting every mistake and every loss go. I just think you have to be able to do that,” Jeter said.

Featured Image: Senior guard BreAnna Dawkins rushes around a University of Texas – El Paso defender during Senior Night on March 5. Photos by Ryan Vance – Srenior Staff Photographer

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