DENTON – Head coach Jalie Mitchell
's Mean Green women's basketball outscored mentor and former colleague head coach Karen Aston's No. 11/8 Longhorns for two quarters and pulled within four points with 5:35 to play, but North Texas was outscored 10-4 in the final minutes in a 64-54 loss Monday night at the Super Pit.
The UNT defense held the Longhorns (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) without a 3-pointer and forced 17 turnovers throughout the contest. However, the biggest discrepancy could be seen in the rebound totals as Texas grabbed 61 boards, which was 30 more than the Mean Green (1-1, 0-0 C-USA).
"I don't do moral victories," Mitchell said. "I get it, but when you have an opportunity to win those types of games, you have to figure it out. You have to make it work. This is a great learning opportunity for our team early in the season to understand what areas we can get better in."
registered team-highs with 18 points and seven rebounds, and Trena Mims
posted 16 points for North Texas.
The Mean Green entered the fourth quarter trailing 50-38, and Grace Goodhart
converted a three-point play to trim the margin to single digits in the opening minute. Bradley then drilled a three from the left wing to bring UNT to within 50-44. With 5:50 remaining on the clock, Mims hit a floater in the lane to cut the Texas lead to 54-48 before Bradley drained a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to four.
The Longhorns stole a Mean Green pass that turned into a bucket with just under three minutes to go for a 58-50 advantage, but Bradley kept UNT in contention at 60-54 by tipping in her own miss with 1:09 on the clock. That turned out to be the final points scored by North Texas while Texas collected four more.
"I am not discouraged at all," Mitchell said. "Disappointed in the loss, but not discouraged at all."
UNT regrouped after being outscored 23-11 in the first 10 minutes beginning with a 3-pointer by Goodhart to begin the second period, and Bradley also sank one for the 88th
of her Mean Green career, which happened to surpass Mitchell for seventh all-time, to pull UNT within 23-17. Both teams struggled offensively in the latter half of the quarter as North Texas went scoreless in the final 5:17 of the half while the Longhorns failed to add to their total for over three minutes for a 34-21 Texas advantage.
Mims made a layup for first the score in the second half followed by a Goodhart three from the right wing to cut the lead to eight. Bradley sliced through the lane for a basket, and Mims hit two free throws with just under four minutes to play in the third to bring the Mean Green to within 38-31. The Longhorns pieced together a 12-6 run to conclude the period with a 50-38 lead before UNT closed the gap in the fourth.
Next up, the Mean Green travel for another Big 12 matchup to face Kansas State Friday at 7 p.m.