DENTON - North Texas women's basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell
became the fastest coach in program history to record 50 career wins as the Mean Green downed UTEP, 70-51, to record the first ever 3-0 start in Conference USA play and push their win streak to six games, a feat the program has not accomplished since Mitchell was a player 17 seasons ago 2002.
On the career milestone, Mitchell said, "It feels amazing." She was unaware she became the fastest to do so. "That was surprising, I know there have been some great ones before me."
The Mean Green (10-5, 3-0 C-USA) never trailed the Miners (4-11, 1-1 C-USA) en route to Mitchell's 50th
victory. North Texas' keys to victory were their hot start from the floor and the control of the both the offensive and defensive rebounds from start to finish. The Mean Green opened up the game by hitting their first six shots.
UNT was led by a season-high for Grace Goodhart
and career-best by Velma Mitchell
who both tallied 14 points. They were joined in double figures by Callie Owens
who tallied 11.
The Mean Green used a good defensive game plan to hold UTEP's leading scorer, Zuzanna Pac, to just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting, while also causing her to commit eight of UTEP's 13 turnovers.
caused one of those miscues when she got her hand in the way of a Miner pass in the paint which put the Mean Green in transition. George finished the break with a layup at the other end giving the Mean Green a 14-3 advantage three minutes into the game, forcing UTEP to take their first time out.
The Miners used a 6-0 run to draw within six at 20-14 with 14 seconds left in the opening quarter, but Mitchell hit a jumper on the left wing to take a 22-14 lead into the first break.
A Trena Mims
jumper pushed the Mean Green lead to 10 at 24-14 to open up scoring in the second quarter, but a 4-0 run by the Miners would draw them back within six at 24-18 halfway through the frame. Both teams struggled to find the bottom of either net in the second quarter shooting a combined 26-percent from the floor.
A corner three brought the Miners within five at 35-30 with 6:21 to play in the third. Back-to-back offensive rebounds and a layup by Owens pushed the Mean Green lead to 11 after a 6-0 run to take a 41-30 lead with 3:42 left in the quarter. Charlene Shepherd
pulled down North Texas' 13th
offensive rebound of the contest and set up a chance for the last shot of the quarter for the Mean Green. Mitchell drove and delivered a crisp pass to Deja Terrell
who converted to give the Mean Green a 16-point lead at 50-34 to close out the frame.
A Goodhart free throw towards the end of the contest would add to her season-best and give the Mean Green their largest lead at 19 points.
"As a senior leader, it means I just had to step up and do the things that I know I can do," Goodhart said when asked about the absence of Terriell Bradley
, who sat out the contest.
The Mean Green are back in action against conference opponent UTSA on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. from the Super Pit.