North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball unable to pull off upset bid against Rice

Women’s basketball unable to pull off upset bid against Rice

March 03
23:07 2018

After trailing by 11 points to Rice University (20-8, 10-6) to start the fourth quarter, head coach Jalie Mitchell challenged someone on her team to step up and make a play. Junior guard Grace Goodhart answered the call not long afterwards and hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to six points.

“She needed a group to go out there and fight like hell for seven minutes and try to get us back in the game, and that’s what we had to do,” Goodhart said of Mitchell’s message.

A few possessions later, junior guard Terriell Bradley found Goodhart in the corner for a 3-pointer bringing the Owls lead down to just three. As the Mean Green bench started to get into the game, junior guard Brittany Smith came up with a steal and a layup to make it a one-point game as North Texas trailed 44-43.

The magic eventually ran out, though, as North Texas (15-13, 6-10) was unable to score down the stretch and eventually Rice pulled out the win, 47-45. The loss is the Mean Green’s third straight to close out the regular season.

“When you look at the scoreboard 47-45, it’s a very low scoring game for both squads to be quite honest,” Mitchell said. “I said this after the last game, you want to score more, you want to finish those plays and make open shots. You got to be able to knock them down.”

All season one of the staples of the Mean Green has been their defense.  North Texas ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense only giving up an average of 55 points a game. On a night were both offenses struggled shooting, North Texas forced the Owls into 19 turnovers compared to their five.

“We were doing the things we need to do, getting stops and shot clock violations- which show we were doing the things we need to do,” Smith said.

After two made free throws by Rice with 1:09 left to play, Goodhart continued her hot shooting streak and hit a jump shot that brought North Texas within one point with less than a minute left to play. The third lead scorer in the conference, Bradley tried to send the game to overtime but fell just short as ball rimmed out with no time left on the clock.

North Texas having close games against Rice is nothing new. Four of the last six games they’ve played went to overtime, while the other two were decided by three points or less. This game is one of those game that the Mean Green always look forward to no matter the stakes.

“It’s a in state rivalry, I think it kind of we don’t like them, they don’t like us,” Goodhart said. “I kind of look at it like the Duke and [North Carolina] rivalry- we both want to beat each other so bad and it’s always competitive and close.”

Next up: North Texas opens the conference tournament on Wednesday against Charlotte at 2:00 p.m. at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.

Featured image: North Texas Guard Adrianna Henderson approaches the basket against two defenders.

About Author

Jordan James

Jordan James

Sports writer covering Mean Green Sports and more

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