UNT notebook art

North Texas forward Destinee McDowell throws a pass to a teammate at the Super Pit earlier this season. UNT will host Marshall this week. 

The North Texas women's basketball team didn't get a chance to play last week due to the snowstorm in Texas that prevented the Mean Green from traveling for a pair of games against Western Kentucky.

UNT came out of the week in a whole lot better shape than it went into it anyway.

The Mean Green are in a three-way battle for the Conference USA West Division title with Rice and UTEP. Both of those teams played last week and dropped a game.

When all was said and done, UNT (11-4, 8-2 C-USA) was sitting just a game back of Rice (9-1) and padded its lead over UTEP (12-4).

The Mean Green will look to bolster their chances of running down the Owls this week in a two-game series against Marshall. UNT will host the Thundering Herd at 6:30 p.m. on Friday before the series wraps up with a 3:30 p.m. game on Saturday.

"It’s very exciting, although I don’t know that our players realize it," UNT coach Jalie Mitchell said of where the Mean Green are in the standings. "They don’t pay attention to that kind of thing. My goal is to make sure they focus on continuing to do what it took to get here. We don’t want to focus on anyone else. We want to make sure we are where we need to be mentally."

That was tougher than it sounds after seeing its series against WKU wiped out. The Mean Green had a load of momentum heading into the series after winning three straight games. 

UNT had endured a host of cancellations and postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic before the weather wiped out another series.

"We're more excited about being able to play than anything," UNT forward Madison Townley said. "Some of us didn’t even know about the Marshall-Rice games. We were more worried about playing since we missed a week again. It’s hard to be off a week, but we have done it before and know we can fight through it."

UNT will face Rice in its final C-USA series in the first week in March. Entering that series with a shot at the league's West Division title won't be easy. Marshall (6-8, 5-7) cruised past Rice 68-56 in the second game of the series.

Sophomore guard Savannah Wheeler scored 25 points to lead Marshall in the win. The sophomore guard is averaging 17.7 points per game and is one of the top guards in C-USA. 

Quincy Noble is averaging 18.7 points to lead UNT and will be one of several players the Mean Green will throw at Wheeler. 

"Wheeler is the engine," Mitchell said. "She is the one who makes them go.

"We need to use multiple defenses and multiple people against her. It’s a shared responsibility. We have to limit her opportunities."

Men's basketball

UNT looking to get back in flow after week off

UNT will play its first game in nearly two weeks when it travels to Marshall for a two-game series against the Thundering Herd beginning Friday.

The Mean Green (12-6, 8-2) were scheduled to host WKU before the series was called off due to the snowstorm that also forced the UNT-WKU women's series to postpone.

UNT has not played since finishing off a two-game sweep of Southern Miss on Feb. 13.

UNT struggled just to get practice time in due to power and water issues that affected the Super Pit as well as the entire Denton area.

"It was a crazy situation," UNT forward Thomas Bell said. "It's been a crazy, crazy year already. We had to fight through it together and get into the gym when we could. Texas doesn’t really get snow, so it was hard to get around."

Seeing its series against WKU postponed was tough for the Mean Green. UNT beat WKU in Denton late last season to clinch the C-USA regular season title. The teams are atop the league's West and East divisions, respectively.

UNT coach Grant McCasland said North Texas was disappointed it couldn't play the series but was more concerned with the overall well-being of the community.

"Our heart went out to a lot of people," McCasland said. "There were more important things than basketball at that point. It seems like we've been reminded of that pretty consistently in the last year."

UNT will look to get back on track when it travels to Marshall (12-5, 6-4) for a two-game series beginning Friday. 


Safety Sanders pulls out of transfer portal

UNT safety Makyle Sanders has pulled his name out of the NCAA transfer portal and plans to return for a final season with the Mean Green, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Tuesday.

Sanders ranked second among UNT players with 68 tackles last season and intercepted two passes as a senior. He will take advantage of the additional year of eligibility the NCAA granted to fall sports athletes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 


Delacruz high point scorer at C-USA meet

Antonio Delacruz was the high-point scorer at the Conference USA indoor championships over the weekend.

The junior won the 60- and 200-meter dashes. He was among a record 12 UNT athletes who earned all-conference honors by finishing in the top three in their events. 


UNT aims to pick up momentum for OU match

UNT hammered LSU Alexandria 7-0 in its season opener on Sunday, the first of two matches leading up to a clash with Oklahoma in Denton early next month.

The Mean Green will host the Sooners on March 4. UNT took the first step toward entering its match against Oklahoma on a roll when it cruised past the Generals.

Louisiana Tech transfer Connor Barker scored two goals in her UNT debut to pace the Mean Green. UNT will face Texas State at 1 p.m. on Sunday in San Marcos in their last match before taking on Oklahoma.


UNT set to return to action at Texas State

UNT will play its first match in nearly two weeks on Wednesday when the Mean Green travel to face Texas State in San Marcos.

UNT last played on Feb. 12 when the Mean Green fell to Baylor. North Texas was scheduled to travel to Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 17, but the match was canceled due to inclement weather.

The Mean Green are 1-3 on the season.


UNT opens home season with win over ACU

Freshman Janie Worthington took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of her first career start and UNT cruised to a 10-2 win over Abilene Christian in its home opener on Tuesday.

Worthington allowed two runs on two hits in 4 1/3 innings. 

Tayla Evans and Rayna Lewis had back-to-back home runs in the first inning to power UNT offensively. 


UNT to face national power Baylor

UNT will face national power Baylor on Friday in Waco, where the Mean Green will look to build on one of their more impressive wins of the season.

UNT swept Texas State on Monday. The Bobcats received 21 votes in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 poll. 

The Mean Green are 4-5 on the season heading into their match with the Lady Bears. 

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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