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Women’s basketball struggling with turnovers, ranked in bottom ten in nation

Women’s basketball struggling with turnovers, ranked in bottom ten in nation

Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the basket for a layup against the Charlotte 49ers. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Women’s basketball struggling with turnovers, ranked in bottom ten in nation
February 15
15:48 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

Ranking in the top ten of a national statistic is normally a good thing – except when it is has to do with turnovers.

The North Texas women’s basketball team is averaging 20.5 turnovers per game, giving it a 336th national ranking out of 344 ranked teams. The Mean Green’s total of 451 turnovers through 26 games puts the team on track to surpass its total from last season of 533, which in part led to the team finishing with a 5-24 overall record.

“It’s self-inflicted,” junior point guard Kelsey Criner said of the team’s turnovers this season. “We’re just trying to do our best, but when you think about that too much, you get rattled. We just have to relax, play loose and let the game come.”

Criner ranks 72nd in the nation in assists despite North Texas’ poor assist to turnover ratio, where the Mean Green rank 319th in the nation. Last season, former head coach Mike Petersen’s squad posted an 0.4 ratio, but head coach Jalie Mitchell has helped the team turn around with an 0.6.

North Texas sometimes starts off averaging turnovers at an exponential rate, such as against Louisiana Tech University. In the first five minutes of the game, North Texas had already racked up five turnovers.

To combat that, junior guard Candice Adams has been trying to control the ball more, even when the ball is out of her hands, by being vocal.

“[We’re] just trying to value possessions,” Adams said. “We work on it practice a lot, but the speed of the game is faster than the speed of practice in the heat of the moment.”

The turnovers have clearly hurt the offense and have been part of North Texas’ low scoring efforts recently. In its matchup on Feb. 4 against the University of Southern Mississippi, North Texas only scored 38 points – something the team had already done once this season.

The Mean Green turned the ball over 26 times in that game.

“We’ve talked a lot about taking care of the ball,” Mitchell said. “I’m not really sure if we’re thinking ahead too much to what’s going to happen instead of playing in the moment, but that’s something we constantly talk about. We have to have the ball to put it in the basket.”

Mitchell has tried to set up moments in practice to try and simulate a game situation as closely as possible, making turnovers a daily focus.

“We talk about it in practice,” Mitchell said. “If we do it now in practice, then we are used to it come game time.”

One of the most alarming stats relating to turnovers is in the turnover margin, where North Texas is ranked 297th nationally and second to last in Conference-USA with a margin of -2.91.

Under Mike Petersen, the Mean Green’s margin was just -0.1, nearly three full points better than this season.

Nevertheless, Mitchell sees where she can improve her squad.

“We beat ourselves with turnovers and with missed lay-ups and free throws,” Mitchell said. “It’s just the decisions we make. I think we have to look at us and our weaknesses and what we need to fix.”

Featured Image: Junior guard Kelsey Criner (3) drives the basket for a layup against the Charlotte 49ers. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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