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Women’s basketball upsets Arizona on road, earns first win of the season

Women’s basketball upsets Arizona on road, earns first win of the season

North Texas junior guard Kelsey Criner dribbles toward the baseline against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell

Women’s basketball upsets Arizona on road, earns first win of the season
November 22
16:38 2016

Needing a win after starting their season 0-3,  head coach Jalie Mitchell and the North Texas women’s basketball team went on the road to Arizona University Tuesday afternoon. And while the Mean Green (1-3) were up against a tough opponent in the Wildcats (2-1), they were also up against a loud and disruptive crowd of 8,442, making the outcome all the more impressive.

In the end, North Texas defeated Arizona 62-58 in a complete team effort on both ends.

“We had a really good team meeting a few days ago about what we needed to do to be a great team and to win, and resilience was one of those things,” Mitchell said. “And I thought we showed that in a big way today.”

The meeting seemed to have connected with the players as they willed themselves to a victory in the difficult confines of a Power Five school.

North Texas was led in scoring by three players with double figures in senior guards Kelsey Criner (13) and Terra Ellison (12), and sophomore guard Terriell Bradley (17). As a team, they had season highs in essentially every offensive category.

“It was the creation, we all created for each other,” Criner said. “Whether it was making the extra pass, or driving and kicking it out, [we were] just putting each other in the best position to score.”

When Arizona made a push, the Mean Green responded with a huge bucket that often came from senior leaders on the team, including senior guard Candice Adams who chiped in eight points.

At afternoon’s end, North Texas shot 46.6 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three and had 86 total possessions – a season high. The only bad part of their offensive performance was their turnover total, as the Mean Green coughed the ball up 22 times.

“I thought we made some great decisions and used great teamwork to move the ball around and get wide open shots that we knocked down today,” Mitchell said. “I’m very happy with our transition game and our point guard [Criner].

Defensively, North Texas was able to hold the Wildcats to 19 points fewer than they averaged in their first two games. Criner had four steals, all of which seemed to halt any momentum that Arizona had or was building.

North Texas forced 19 turnovers and held Arizona to 35.1 percent shooting from the field and 18.8 from behind the arc.

The impressive defensive performance was engineered by a change in their mindset, raising their intensity on every possession.

“I think we just came together and decided that we’re going to play defense hard as a team,” Criner said. “And that is something that we have to do every game.”

The win reaffirms that the team has the talent to compete with anyone on their schedule, which is huge as players and newcomers continue to develop chemistry.

Led by the seniors, and a confident head coach, North Texas hopes to use this win as a stepping stone to get closer to where they want to be.

“I think this game we saw what we are capable of,” Ellison said. “So this builds the confidence of our whole team.”

Next up: The Mean Green host Iona at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Featured Image: North Texas senior guard Kelsey Criner dribbles toward the baseline against Old Dominion University last season. Colin Mitchell

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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