The Mean Green (1-1) beat Alcorn State (0-3) 67-31 on Monday night. Head coach Jalie Mitchell called it an “ugly win,” but a win nonetheless.
Turnovers characterized tonight’s game. There were 55 of them between both teams and North Texas carried the load with 30 of them. North Texas was able to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes more than Alcorn State. The Mean Green shot 48% off of forced turnovers, while Alcorn State shot just 21%.
“I would’ve liked some of those turnovers back so we could get our possessions and make the most of them,” Mitchell said.
The Mean Green had an efficient first quarter on offense and went on an 8-0 run. They had several defensive stops early on to keep Alcorn from scoring. No easy buckets came for Alcorn State even after they managed to close the gap 10-9. That would end up being the closest to having a winning score for the Lady Braves for the rest of the night.
“We executed our game plan much better today,” Mitchell said. “We came to play today, much more connected, I thought on both ends.”
North Texas’ defense was enough to keep Alcorn State from getting many open shots the entire night. As a team, they had 14 made field goals. The Lady Braves only had four free throw attempts, with three coming in the latter half of the game.
Tonight, the Mean Green allowed the fewest points in a game in program history. Their previous record, 33, occurred in 2006 against the University of New Orleans.
“I thought we did a good job, again defensively, making them take the shots we wanted them to take,” Mitchell said.
To start the second half, Alcorn State had 17 straight missed field goals and didn’t score until 2:24 remained in the third quarter. However, their scoring picked up later in the quarter and they managed to sustain it through the fourth though at a low rate.
“We tightened up and … the biggest thing was just our focus and our discipline and our execution,” Mitchell said.
Redshirt junior guard Callie Owens made her debut tonight coming off of an injury, and put up eight points and five rebounds. Being that she’s one of two returning guards on the team, Mitchell said that Owens’ leadership can help guide their team heavy with freshmen.
“We’ll have a lot of growing experiences I think but at the same time, I think you’ll see this group grow each time we step on the floor.”
Freshman forward Destinee McDowell finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds. Coincidentally, she had 14 points and nine rebounds in their last game against Mid-America Christian.
“She has a great knack for the game, great IQ and so she just delivers for us on both ends,” Mitchell said about McDowell. “I’m really proud of her, and her consistency is huge for us.”
McDowell said she is comfortable with her role on the team, and that for her, it’s just basketball.
“Just doing what I love to do, play basketball,” McDowell said.
Senior post player Anisha George proved to be big for the Mean Green, putting up 18 points and 12 rebounds. Tonight extended her streak of double doubles to both games played so far.
“Our head was in the right space [and] we were ready for a win,” George said. “Nobody wants to be 0-2 so we were determined to win today, regardless.”
Overall, North Texas shot 45.2% from the field and 29.4% from the 3-point line. Alcorn went 14-77 from the field and 2-17 from three. Every Mean Green player scored tonight.
“We need everybody,” Mitchell said. “And we need everybody to contribute in a great way. Everybody has brought something to the table off the bench.”
Freshman guard Randi Thompson “tweaked” an ankle early in the third quarter, according to Mitchell. She did not return for the remainder of the game. Sophomore forward Charlene Shepherd is also out with an injury and did not play tonight.
UP NEXT: North Texas prepares to take on the University of Texas at Arlington on Friday, Nov. 15 at The Super Pit.
Featured Image: Freshman point guard Jazion Jackson takes the ball down the court during the Mean Green’s Game against Mid-America Christian on Nov. 7, 2019. Image by Ryan Cantrell