In the final home game of North Texas’ season, the Mean Green knew they were up for a challenge against Conference USA powerhouse, University of Alabama at Birmingham. The second best team in the conference, the Dragons (23-5, 12-3) jumped on North Texas early and never looked back.
UAB led wire-to-wire in the second to last game of the Mean Green’s 2017-2018 regular season. North Texas (15-12, 6-9) cut the deficit to as low as eight in the second half, but inevitably lost their senior night game, 69-51.
“Every time we had the opportunity [to get close], either we missed a basket or gave one up,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Those moments and opportunities we’re not taking advantage of, and we have to put ourselves in a position to win.”
North Texas stumbled to 33 percent shooting and connected on just one 3-point make on 10 attempts. The team’s leading scorer, junior Terriell Bradley, could not find her usually reliable shot, finishing 4-of-15 from the field for 11 points, along with six rebounds in 33 minutes.
Fellow junior guard Brittany Smith was the other double-digit scorer in the loss. Smith recorded 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but like teammates Bradley and junior post Micayla Buckner, battled foul trouble throughout the contest.
“I’m very important to the team so me being on the bench, I can’t do as much as I can on the floor,” Smith said. “Like [coach] said, when the starting point guard is not on the floor, it’s hard to execute.”
Sophomore guard Adrianna Henderson came off the bench for eight points and tied a career-high with five rebounds, the fourth time in her young career she has met that total.
Even with an unceremonious end, North Texas ends the season with a winning 9-6 home record.
“Thinking back early, way back to non-conference, we played Kansas State to a great game here,” Mitchell said of the team’s home court advantage. “I thought we made it to where people are at least a little scared coming into our house.”
Despite the loss, the Mean Green were able to reestablish their home court advantage which they hope will carry over into next season.
“We played, throughout the season, where people want to come watch us play and see what we can do,” Mitchell said. “That’s how you want to be at home. You got to win more than you lose and play fun, exciting basketball.”
Next up: The regular season comes to a close on Saturday in Houston against the Rice Owls (19-7, 9-5) at 4:30 p.m. The game can be viewed nationally on ESPN3.