EL PASO — North Texas women’s basketball held a lead for the majority of the day against UTEP, but a late run by the Miners and a scoring drought for the Mean Green would seal a 67-63 loss for UNT at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday.
The Mean Green (9-11, 3-5 C-USA) were led offensively by Summer Jones for the second straight game. Jones poured in a career-high five 3-point field goals en route to 17 points and added seven rebounds. Charlene Shepherd gave the Mean Green 16 points and seven rebounds of her own off the bench. Randi Thompson and Anisha George also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
UTEP (12-6, 5-2 C-USA) struggled from the floor in the first quarter without their leading scorer Katarina Zec, who had to sit down four minutes into the contest with two fouls. The Miners shot just 14% on 2-14 from the field including 0-3 from the 3.
The Miners jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead but a Thompson jumper put UNT on the board and sparked a 10-0 run. The visitors closed out the quarter on a 13-3 run and led at the break 13-7. The seven UTEP points were the team’s second-lowest single-quarter point output of the season and lowest in conference play. Back on Dec. 7 the Miners mustered only three points in the second quarter against No. 18 Arizona.
A quick start to the second frame saw the Mean Green grow a 17-7 lead before a Miner free throw ended the scoring run. However, UNT capitalized on Zec’s absence and took a five-point lead into the half. Jones had 11 points at the break, Shepherd had three points and six rebounds off the bench, and Madison Townley added seven rebounds.
Out of the break, Zec showed why she’s one of Conference USA’s top scorers with five quick points to cut the Mean Green’s lead to just five with 7:37 left to play in the third frame. The Miners shot 47% from the field and cut UNT’s lead to just three heading into the final period.
The Miners closed the Mean Green lead to just five with 3:48 to play and an and-one from Zec put UTEP in striking distance. After the Miners tied the game at 61 with 2:23 left to play, Shepherd hit a jump shot to put the Mean Green back ahead by two, but that would be UNT’s final lead of the game. The Miners ended the game on an 11-2 run to seal the home victory.
North Texas return home to host conference leader Rice on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at the Super Pit.