DENTON — Kelsey Criner scored 25 points to lead the North Texas women’s basketball team, but the visiting 49ers used a late run to take a 82-70 victory on Saturday afternoon from the Super Pit.
Charlotte (14-9, 7-5) dropped 32 points in the fourth frame to wear down a Mean Green unit that had been fighting to catch up all afternoon. Twelve of those fourth-quarter points came from 49er senior Alexis Alexander, who entered the frame with only 8 points to her credit. But Charlotte’s leading scorer finished with 20, joining three other visiting players that finished with double-digit point totals.
“Giving up 32 points in the fourth quarter is tough to come back from,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “[Alexander] was the difference for sure. Our post players have to do a better job defensively and our guards have to do a better job of helping them inside. We just didn’t do enough on our end.”
North Texas (8-14, 3-9) knew it would need to find a way to put points on the board against one of Conference USA’s top offensive units, and they almost found the perfect combination in junior guard Kelsey Criner and senior forward Acheil Tac. Criner led all scorers with 25 points while leading the Mean Green with five assists and six steals. Tac added 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it still wasn’t good enough to come out on top.
Charlotte jumped out to a 10-point lead, 20-10, after one quarter, and North Texas had to play catch up for the next three periods. The Mean Green outscored the 49ers in the second and third quarters and took its first lead midway through the fourth. But the home team was unable to hold the lead, and Charlotte used a 16-6 run with less than five minutes remaining to retake a double-digit advantage.
The 49ers led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but the Mean Green kept taking the ball to the basket. A 9-0 run and then a 6-0 spread by the Mean Green cut the visitor’s lead to single-digits.
Down for the first time all game, the 49ers retook the lead with a few key offensive rebounds that then led to baskets. In all, Charlotte made just two more field goals than the Mean Green but contributed six three-pointers and a perfect 12-for-12 mark from the free-throw line.
North Texas will be back on the road for a trip to Florida next week. The Mean Green will kick things off against FIU at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, from Miami, followed by a contest against Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
• Adams made one three-pointer in the game and moved into sole possession of seventh place on NT’s career list with 85 three-pointers. Current head coach Jalie Mitchell will be the next target on the junior’s list, as the former sits in sixth place with 87 makes.
• Criner’s 25 points was the second-highest total of her career.
• Tac, starting in her 50th career game, notched her seventh double-double of the season and the 14th of her career.
• Kasiney Williams made her second start of the season (and the 12th of her career) on Saturday, finishing with seven points and three rebounds.
• With three made three-pointers on the day, North Texas extended its streak of games with at least two made shots from deep to 22.
(Photo Rick Yeatts – from meangreensports.com)