In the first round of the Conference-USA tournament, North Texas women’s basketball team (12-19, 6-12 C-USA) fell to Charlotte 71-67 after a late-game comeback failed.
After trailing by 19 in the fourth quarter, the No. 11 seed Mean Green came way back to within two points with 21 seconds remaining. However, a late foul by Jazion Jackson allowed the 49ers to extend their lead and sink free-throws for the win from there.
“We had some frustration in the first half,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Some defensive mistakes but we still had an opportunity to make some plays and take the lead coming out of halftime.”
Despite 11 first-half turnovers and the Mean Green struggling from the field, the 49ers led by four to conclude the first half of play, 32-28. North Texas shot 28 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
“We had a huge second quarter and ended on a high note going into half time,” Mitchell said. “The first half we handled most things well. We had some great stops, and offensively we moved the ball and made shots. I loved how we played in the first half.”
Charlotte exploded in the third quarter, however, outscoring the Mean Green 24-to-11 and making their final six shot attempts of the period to give the 49ers a 16-point advantage heading into the final quarter.
“The third quarter was our worst defensively and offensively,” Mitchell said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t come out of the half like we did that fourth quarter.”
North Texas gave it right back to the 49ers in the following period after being down by 19, the Mean Green crawled all the way back within 2-points after holding Charlotte scoreless for six minutes. The 49ers went on to close out the game from there at the charity stripe.
“I just kept telling the younger guys to ‘keep going,’ because we need them,” senior post player Anisha George said.” “We have to continue to play no matter what happens.”
The turnovers improved for North Texas as the game went on with only four in the second half. However, Charlotte still held the advantage with 12 turnovers overall to the Mean Green’s 15.
“It was a great learning experience for our team,” Mitchell said. “We have a number of freshmen who have big roles, that this was good for.”
George led North Texas in scoring with 14 points in her last game with the program to go along with eight rebounds. Freshman guards N’Yah Boyd and Jazion Jackson both put in strong performances as well as scoring 13 and 12 points, respectively.
“I believe this is going to make this group extremely hungry,” Mitchell said. “They’ll be ready to write a different story different next year.”
Featured Image: Senior post Anisha George shoots a jump hook during the C-USA tournament against Charlotte at the University of North Carolina on March 11, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas