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Women’s basketball preparing for critical home stand this weekend

Women’s basketball preparing for critical home stand this weekend

North Texas junior guard Candice Adams (14) drives the baseline against Rice. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Women’s basketball preparing for critical home stand this weekend
February 10
11:04 2016

Brady Keane | Staff Writer

@BradyKeane3

After losing three straight games and seven of their last nine, the Mean Green women’s basketball team is facing a crucial home stand against some of the top talent in Conference USA this weekend.

The team has been on a long, downhill slide since winning three straight games more than a month ago, and the Mean Green (8-12, 3-7) are sitting at 11th place in the C-USA standings with eight games to go in the regular season.

North Texas has a losing record at home this season (4-6), but the team knows the importance of its upcoming home contests. North Texas hosts Old Dominion University on Thursday, Feb. 11 and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Saturday, Feb. 13.

“It’s critical that we have a good showing at home and that we try to get two wins,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Not only because we have lost five out of six, but because it’s at home and you want to protect your home court.”

The Mean Green has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball in recent weeks, as the team has racked up nine straight games with 16 or more turnovers. North Texas is the only team in C-USA to average more than 20 turnovers per game this season, and the team ranks dead last in assist to turnover ratio.

The abundance of turnovers have caused a decrease in offensive production, with the Mean Green tying its lowest scoring output of the season in a 57-38 loss to the University of Southern Mississippi last week.

“We haven’t been very conscious of taking care of the ball and valuing possessions,” junior guard Candice Adams said. “It’s something that we can control, but we have to value our possessions.”

Following the blowout loss to Southern Miss, Adams and the Mean Green held a team meeting to evaluate what was going wrong and try to get back on track. While the team still lost a competitive 77-71 matchup against Louisiana Tech in the next game, there was a noticeable difference in the offensive fluidity and the team’s intensity on the court.

The Mean Green held the lead for more than 19 minutes in that game, which gave Mitchell hope for a turnaround at the Super Pit this weekend.

“It was great for our kids and for our confidence, so they know the Southern Miss game was just a one-time thing,” Mitchell said. “It won’t be something that will affect us going forward.”

As the Mean Green offense tries to get back on track at home, the North Texas defense will be tasked with containing two of the most high-octane offenses in C-USA. Charlotte averages more than 75 points per game, which is the best in the conference, while ODU has the league’s top scorer in Jennie Sims, averaging 20.2 points per game.

The defense will be aided by the return of sophomore post player Bria Frierson, who has been suffering from an ankle injury. Frierson could be key to a North Texas defensive turnaround, as the Frisco Liberty alum is the team’s third leading rebounder.

“It’s big,” Mitchell said of Frierson’s return. “She’s been a starter for us for the majority of the season, and she not only rebounds, she takes a lot of charges. Our defensive scheme changes without her in the lineup.”

Ultimately, members of the Mean Green said they have to cut down on unforced offensive mistakes to get back on track at the Super Put this weekend to avoid digging an even deeper hole with the C-USA Tournament less than a month away.

“We just have to relax, play loose and let the game come to us,” junior guard Kelsey Criner said. “We are very motivated. We’re trying to win games, and we have to find a way to do that.”

Featured Image: Junior guard Candice Adams (14) drives the baseline against Rice. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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