North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball struggles down the stretch in loss to Western Kentucky

Women’s basketball struggles down the stretch in loss to Western Kentucky

March 02
22:31 2017

In a potential preview of the second-round of the Conference USA tournament, North Texas was unable to match the firepower of C-USA leader Western Kentucky University. The Lady Hilltoppers defeated the Mean Green 75-55 at the Super Pit Thursday.

North Texas(11-17, 8-9) led 14-7 midway through the first quarter, but Western Kentucky wasted no time in responding as they went on a 14-1 run to quickly seize momentum.

From there, the Hilltoppers (23-6, 15-2) never relented throughout the course of the game.

“The first half, I thought the difference in the game was their offensive rebounding, which led to 14 second-chance points, which is how much we were down at half,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “The second half I thought we changed those things.”

Mitchell chose to start her four-guard lineup with senior forward Terra Ellison at the five position against a fairly big Hilltoppers lineup that featured three players 6’1 or taller.

The starters came to play, giving the Mean Green an early lead. But the bench failed to match their output and finished with just 13 points.

“I thought [the starters were] great,” Mitchell said, “The only thing I talked to them about was about the rebounding – if we’re going to start small there has to be some ownership from a rebounding standpoint.”

While the rebounding margin was even by the end of the game, the Hilltoppers held a 20-13 advantage on the boards in the first half.

The Hilltoppers dominant size and ability to shut down the inside was reflected a 38-16 advantage over North Texas in scoring inside the paint.

“Our shots weren’t falling [from inside],” freshman forward Jada Poland said. ‘We were trying to get position in the paint, [but] it wasn’t falling for us.”

Once the Mean Green went down double-digits in the first quarter, they never appeared comfortable on the offensive end. While 14 turnovers was well below the team’s season average, the Mean Green struggled with ball security at inopportune times throughout the game.

“I think we were just playing too fast,” Bradley said. “Then fatigue set in and they just got a lot of easy buckets.”

North Texas fixed most of its first-half issues after the break, but the damage had already been done by the Hilltoppers. The Mean Green will have a lot to work on if before a potential second-round rematch in the C-USA tournament in the coming week.

“I thought we had an opportunity to start the third quarter, and we turned the ball over,” Mitchell said. “It came back to bite us we couldn’t close the gap for that reason.”

Next up: North Texas faces Marshall University in its home finale at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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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