North Texas Rallies Past IUPUI With Furious Comeback

Filed under: Sports,UNT Women's Basketball |

DENTON — North Texas trailed by as many as 20, but the Mean Green rode a second-half surge to a thrilling 68-67 win over IUPUI on Saturday afternoon at the Super Pit. North Texas (3-4) led for just 43 seconds, taking their only lead of the game on a corner 3-pointer by junior guard Kelsey Criner.

“We had a group that made a decision that the way we had been playing is not who we were going to be,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Offensively, we got extremely aggressive, which we hadn’t been for the third quarters, and it changed the game. It also gave us some confidence in that we saw that they couldn’t guard the things that we were running as long as we executed and stayed in attack mode.”

DENTON, TX - DECEMBER 1: University of North Texas Mean Women's Basketball v SMU at Super Pit - North Texas Coliseum in Denton on December 1, 2015 in Denton, Texas. (Photo Rick Yeatts Photography)

(Photo Rick Yeatts Photography)

Junior guard Candice Adams led the way with a game-high 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:56 left in the game. Senior forward Acheil Tac added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Criner finished with 10 points, none bigger than her go-ahead 3-pointer, which proved to be the difference in the game.

North Texas shot 50 percent (30-of-60) from the floor and 6-of-11 from 3-point range. In the second half, when the Mean Green outscored IUPUI (6-2) by a score of 42-26, they shot 58.1 percent (18-of-31) from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range. They also committed a season-low 11 turnovers for the game.

IUPUI led wire to wire in the first half, taking a 41-26 lead into halftime, tied for its largest lead of the half. The Jaguars shot 48 percent (16-of-33) from the floor, including 5-of-15 from 3-point range, and committed just three turnovers in the half. North Texas outscored IUPUI 18-16 in the third quarter to head to the fourth quarter trailing 57-44. The stretch included a 7-0 run late in the quarter that erased a 20-point IUPUI lead, their largest of the game.

The Mean Green carried that momentum into the fourth quarter, becoming more aggressive on offense and storming back to make it a 63-62 game with 2:42 left after an offensive rebound and put-back by junior guard Terra Ellison.

“With the group we had out there, I thought we would be really good at attacking them and driving to the basket,” Mitchell said. “We got a lot of drive-and-kicks, drive-and-dumps and lay-ups. It was just our mindset and we had to be aggressive and take what they gave us, and that’s what that group did.”

North Texas completed the comeback, first tying the game at 65-65 before taking a 68-67 lead in the final minutes of the contest, behind big scoring plays from Adams and Criner. Down by a point, IUPUI had two looks at the basket in the final minute, including a lay-up in the closing seconds that rimmed out, but North Texas held on for the win.

“To come back from down 20, you have to have something about you,” Mitchell said. “There was a lot of excitement on the bench, so I thought that everybody played a part in that comeback victory.”

Quick Hits

  • Senior guard Kasiney Williams started her first game of the season, the 11th of the career
  • Junior guards Kelsey Criner and Terra Ellison were not in the starting lineup for the first time this season, snapping a streak of six consecutive starts to begin the season
  • North Texas had its second-best shooting game from the field (50.0 percent) and its best shooting game from 3-point range (54.5 percent)
  • For the first time this season, North Texas won when trailing at the half
  • North Texas outscored IUPUI 42-26 in the second half, including 24-10 in the fourth quarter
  • North Texas committed a season-low 11 turnovers and allowed IUPUI to score just seven points off turnovers, also a season low for the Mean Green
  • For the first time this season, North Texas had more assists (12) than turnovers (11)
  • North Texas improves to 3-1 in games decided by five points or fewer
  • The 20-point deficit that North Texas faced midway through the third quarter was not only the largest deficit erased this season, but it was also the largest deficit faced this season

What’s Next

After a four-game home stand, North Texas hits the road for a three-game road swing, starting with a matchup against Iona on Saturday, Dec. 13, in New Rochelle, New York.