UNT Women Lose Nailbiter to Old Dominion 72-71

by BoCarter | Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
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The following is a feature/game story on North Texas women’s basketball by Justin Grass of the UNT Sports Journalism Class 4210:
UNT Women’s Basketball Loses 72-71 vs. Old Dominion as Fourth Quarter Comeback Falls Short at Buzzer
 Denton, TX – With one minute left in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Conference USA tilt between UNT and Old Dominion, the Mean Green found itself down seven and facing a likely continuation of its already-season-high four-game losing streak.
But the improbable nearly came to fruition—the final minute included Old Dominion shooting one-of-four from the free-throw line and committing three turnovers, the last of which gave UNT the ball down just one with 15 seconds remaining. A scattered possession resulted in a Terriell Bradley free-throw line shot that came up multiple feet short as the buzzer sounded, sending UNT to its fifth-straight loss and an even 10-10 record (3-5 in conference play).
Old Dominion struggled to find its rhythm in the first half, shooting just 13-31 from the field and one-of-eight from three as center Anisha George’s efficient 13 points on six-of-seven shooting guided the Mean Green to a 33-29 lead at the break.
Momentum shifted after a Brittany Smith three-pointer gave UNT a 40-34 lead with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter. Over the next 4:15, Old Dominion would go on an 11-0 run, part of a larger 29-9 run that gave it a 63-49 lead with 4:47 to go in the game. UNT was ultimately unable to recover.
“I didn’t feel like we executed extremely well,” UNT head coach Jalie Mitchell said of the third quarter, in which her team was outscored 23-14. “I will say in the fourth quarter I thought that our team really fought hard to get back in the game and get in a position to win … the last play, we just didn’t execute it as well as we needed to. I thought we could have definitely gotten a better look up.”
Anisha George led the Mean Green with 24 points on 10-15 shooting from the field and 13 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass, in 27 minutes. “I hate that it wasn’t enough for us to win,” Mitchell said. “She’s been a big one for us to be able to count on.”
Old Dominion featured a balanced attack in which all five of its starters scored in double-digits, led by guard Ajah Wayne’s 16 points on 5-11 shooting from the field and five-of-six shooting from the free-throw line. Additionally, the Monarchs scored 26 points off of UNT’s 17 turnovers whilst only committing 11 and scored 19 fast-break points to UNT’s six. The win gave Old Dominion a 16-5 record (7-2 in conference play).
Despite the loss, UNT showed signs of improvement at home after a three-game road stretch in which it lost each game by an average of 12.3 points—and against a quality opponent in the Monarchs, winners of six straight entering Thursday’s contest. “I do believe we shot it better tonight than we have in the last few games, so at least we’re trending in the right direction,” Mitchell said. “We’re now officially halfway through conference play. We’re going to take one game at a time, but we need to win them all.”
UNT will look to snap its season-high five-game losing skid Saturday when it takes on Charlotte (12-9, 4-5 in conference play) at the Super Pit in another Conference USA match-up for the Mean Green. Old Dominion will stay on the road, pitting its season-high seven-game winning streak against Conference USA leader Rice (17-3, 8-0 in conference play) Saturday.
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