Honolulu, Hawaii hosted the Mean Green women’s basketball team for a series of three games last weekend. North Texas (3-5) won the first game and lost the final two.
After traveling over 3,700 miles, the Mean Green managed to make the most of the trio of games and tack on more experience under their belt.
“The tournament was just huge for us,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “[Lots] of learning experiences, a lot of different situations we had to play through and figure out. I can’t help but think this is gonna go a long way for us.”
In their first matchup, North Texas beat the University of Hawaii 66-60 on Friday, Nov. 29. Senior post player Anisha George led the team with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Junior guard Callie Owens had a season-high 13 points after shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Hawaii was within two points with 13 seconds left in the game, but North Texas converted on their free throws and tacked on four more points to seal the game.
Both teams had similar stat lines across the board. Freshman guard N’Yah Boyd and forward Destinee McDowell were the bench players to score for the Mean Green, contributing 11 points and seven points, respectively. The sum was more than Hawaii’s four bench players who combined 15 points for the night.
North Texas won the battle of fast-break points 12-3, despite only having one less turnover than Hawaii.
On Saturday, the Mean Green faced the University of Texas and lost 63-57.
Freshman guard Randi Thompson had 15 points off the bench, comprising nearly half of the team’s bench points (29). Though the Longhorns broke away in the second quarter, the Mean Green caught up to be within three points of Texas with a minute left.
North Texas had 29 bench points to Texas’ eight. Texas made double the three-pointers that North Texas did (12-6).
Lastly, the Mean Green played No. 12 North Carolina State on Sunday and lost 76-65. Boyd had a season-high 22 points for the Mean Green.
“I thought that we battled,” Mitchell said. “I feel like just looking at the stats, we won a lot of key areas but I thought the rebounds proved to be too much to overcome.”
North Carolina State outrebounded North Texas 52-33. Mitchell said that rebounding is what caused her team to lose the game. The Wolves had 18 offensive rebounds that led to 22 second-chance points in the game.
Center Elissa Cuane is the tallest player for North Carolina State standing 6-foot-5-inch. Cunane had a game-high 24 points and 19 rebounds. For North Texas, George had a low scoring night of five points.
The Mean Green forced 15 turnovers and had six on their own, which translated into 12 fastbreak points compared to North Carolina State’s two.
The game slipped away from the Mean Green during the third quarter when the Wolves went on an offensive run. Mitchell said that being on the wrong side of runs that night and against Texas are game-changers for the team, but she doesn’t want them to be.
“If we can shut those down and not make them so big. We just need to learn how to stop those,” Mitchell said.
Regarding the entire weekend, Mitchell said she was glad to see her entire team contributing in games, rather than a select few players. Whether it’s points or rebounds, she wants to continue to see everyone “getting involved and being part of the solution.”
“When we’re wondering where it’s gonna come from. We have to know that everybody’s capable of stepping up,” Mitchell said.
On the flip side, Mitchell said that the team doesn’t have any specific players that are consistent every night yet, a factor she feels the team can improve on. She felt like every team they’ve played against so far has had a “reliable” player.
“It’s kind of been somebody different every game but if you know you can count on somebody to get a double-double or close to it, I think that’s a beautiful thing,” Mitchell said.
She also wants the team to become more consistent when it comes to shooting as this year’s conference season opener approaches.
“Championship teams have that consistency so that’s what we’re trying to find and get to,” Mitchell said.
The Mean Green has four more games of non-conference play. Their next game is back in Denton, Texas where they’ll play host to Louisiana at Lafayette on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Super Pit.
Featured Image: Freshman forward Destinee McDowell takes the ball down the court during the Mean Green’s game against Xavier University on Nov. 20, 2019. Image by Ryan Cantrell