DENTON – The North Texas women’s basketball team opened its home schedule with a 66-55 win over the Iona Gaels on Saturday afternoon at The Super Pit. The Mean Green had six shooters score in double-figures and led wire-to-wire.
“She’s been showing me in practice day by day that she’s ready and today was a great time for her to contribute,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said of Henderson. “We have so much talent and sharing the ball is an incredible gift and advantage that we have.”
The Mean Green (2-3, 0-0 C-USA) went 16-for-20 at the free throw line, an adjustment Mitchell wanted to make after going 9-for-18 in the teams’ 62-58 win at Arizona on Tuesday. North Texas’ defense also played well, holding a strong shooting Iona (2-3, 0-0 MAAC) team to 1-of-15 from beyond the arc.
“We got to the line better in the second half, which was an adjustment we made after talking at halftime,” Mitchell said. “I was pleased to see it and hope that it continues.”
North Texas got off to a quick start and cruised to a 19-14 lead after the first quarter. Six players registered at least two points in the first quarter, with senior guard Terra Ellison and Warren each scoring four points. Alexis Lewis, the Gaels’ leading scorer, however, scored eight points and went 4-for-5 to keep her team in the contest.
North Texas sophomore post Micayla Buckner got in on the action in the second quarter, scoring six points to keep momentum in favor of the Mean Green. North Texas outscored Iona in the first two frames and took a comfortable 32-24 lead into halftime. North Texas shot 50 percent in the first half and held the Gaels to a 42.3 shooting percentage.
Buckner was forced to exit the game after finding herself in foul trouble half way through the third quarter and Iona responded by cutting North Texas’ lead down to four. Lewis continued to dominate on the other end of the floor and her five offensive rebounds helped trim the lead down to three.
The Mean Green needed an answer and Henderson’s seven third quarter points provided North Texas with the cushion they needed heading into the fourth. The Mean Green ended the third quarter on a 10-6 scoring run to take a 46-36 lead.
Ellison’s would-be buzzer beating three-pointer could have given North Texas a 13-point lead, but an official review revealed that the shot did not leave the hand in time.
Henderson’s scoring outburst rubbed off on her bench teammates in the fourth as the Mean Green’s bench combined to score 10 points in the quarter.
The win is the first in program history over Iona and is North Texas’ second consecutive win over a team they lost to last season.