North Texas women’s basketball defeated Louisiana at Lafayette 69-66 on Saturday afternoon. The Ragin Cajuns came to Denton with a 6-1 record, having won five games in a row.
“I’m just proud of how we pushed through,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “We had some adversities but we also had some big shots, some big stops, some big plays.”
Junior guard Callie Owens finished with a team-high 16 points. Freshman guard N’Yah Boyd had 13 points and forward Destinee McDowell had 10 points. As a team, the Mean Green shot 49.1% from the field and had 15 fast break points while Louisiana had zero.
The Mean Green held a lead for the majority of the first half. In the first quarter, the team shot 67 percent compared to Louisiana’s 31 percent. Louisiana came back to tie the game midway through the second quarter when they went on a 12-0 run. However, North Texas came back on top by the end of the half, 35-34. In the third quarter, North Texas began creating separation from Louisiana. They had a margin of 12 points late in the quarter, the most in the entire game. Senior post player Anisha George had seven of her nine points during the quarter.
North Texas held off a late-game comeback to survive. They led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but the Ragin Cajuns managed to get within two points with less than a minute left of the game.
“I thought we got some good looks at the rim, some short shots that didn’t fall, some rebounds on the opposite end that kinda went through our fingers and they ended up grabbing it and making some big shots for them,” Mitchell said.
A steal by McDowell with nine seconds left kept Louisiana from having a chance to tie the game. Louisiana fouled Owens and she hit the final two free throws to seal the game for the Mean Green. Defensively, Mitchell said she thinks the team could be better. She said that the team has a goal of keeping opponents under 60 points. They’ve done so two times this season out of nine games. Louisiana players forward Ty’Reona Doucet and guard Brandi Williams combined for 35 points, making up more than half of the team’s points.
“I thought they had two people they were going to that we didn’t do a great job of stopping,” Mitchell said. “We’re gonna have that opportunity in the future and I wanna handle it better, and we will.”
Mitchell said she wants this game to be a learning experience for her young players.
“I think in every game there’s some kind of lesson, some kind of way we need to grow and mature and we’ll continue to do that,” Mitchell said.
Owens said that the team didn’t necessarily stop playing in the fourth quarter, but that they got too comfortable.
“We have a young team so I’m just gonna put that on me and say I didn’t lead well enough and just say that I didn’t keep them steady long enough,” Owens said. “We just gotta keep going throughout all 40 minutes and [Mitchell] stresses that a lot, so, just working on that.”
The afternoon’s game came after a week-long of recovery from the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Hawaii. The team had two losses in a row for the first time this season. North Texas has three more games left before conference play begins in January. They play Utah State, Louisiana at Monroe and Texas A&M Texarkana.
“I think we’re almost in the right spot, trying to get into conference and I’m happy with it,” Owens said.
UP NEXT: The Mean Green women play their next game at Utah State on Monday, Dec. 16.
Featured Image: Freshman Destinee McDowell runs with the ball during the Mean Green’s game against Louisiana- Lafayette on Dec. 7, 2019. Image by Ryan Cantrell