On Friday night, under the lights at The Star in Frisco, the 2017-2018 North Texas women’s basketball season came to an end. The second seeded Western Kentucky University overcame an early hole to down the Mean Green 77-61.
North Texas led for the first 14 minutes of the game before surrendering the lead, at that point 22-21. From there, the Western Kentucky attack got the best of the Mean Green and every run attempted by the Mean Green was stifled.
“You are never happy about a loss, but at no point in those 40 minutes was I disappointed in my team,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “I thought we showed up. I thought we fought. We had energy and great effort. It was not our night, unfortunately, but I am extremely proud of our team.”
For the first time since 2002, North Texas was even in the position to play a conference semifinal game. With two upset wins over sixth seeded Charlotte then third seeded Louisiana Tech, North Texas was charting territory it had not covered in 16 years.
Junior Terriell Bradley led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds, finishing her junior campaign off strong.
All-Freshman First Team player Lauren Holmes similarly showed out in the season finale with 14 points and grabbed six offensive rebounds.
“Obviously we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we proved ourselves,” Holmes said. “A lot of people didn’t think we would get this far, but we knew ourselves that we could. We lost tonight but overall it’s a good start.”
During the regular season, no team defense was better than North Texas, allowing just 55.7 points per game. Adversely, Western Kentucky led the conference in scoring at 75.5 points per game. This time, offense prevailed.
“You can’t give a great free throw shooting team 24 attempts,” Mitchell said. “You take away those 20 points and we’re at 57, which I like a whole lot better than 77.”
Freshman forward Deja Terrell finished the season off with a career-high 10 rebounds, also adding eight points off the bench.
“We rebounded well the entire tournament,” Mitchell added. “We knew that was something that we were going to have to do.”
While the year is over, it can not help but feel more like a beginning than an end to the Mean Green since they will return every single player from their active roster.
“It’s the most wins in 12 years for our program,” Mitchell said. “It’s our first winning season in a while [since 2005-2006], to me that just means we’re moving in the right direction. Every year we win more and more games.”
As Mitchell embarks on year four of her coaching tenure at her alma mater next year, a big page was turned during 2017-2018 for the women’s basketball program.
“Every single player in that locker room are players that we recruited, players we brought in and players we believed in that could get us to this point,” Mitchell said. “We have the right people in place from staff to players and I think we’re going to continue to movie forward.”