UNT women

North Texas completed a two-game sweep of Southern Miss on Saturday at the Super Pit.

North Texas officially has nowhere to go but up when it comes to where it ends up in Conference USA play.

The Mean Green completed a series sweep of Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon with a 72-64 win at the Super Pit.

UNT (11-4) improved to 8-2 in C-USA play, matching its highwater mark for wins in a league it joined ahead of the 2013-14 season. The Mean Green finished 8-10 in 2016-17.

UNT still has a ways to go in Jalie Mitchell’s sixth season and is poised to reach yet another milestone in her tenure with its next win.

Jalie Mitchell mug

Jalie Mitchell

“I am thankful for a group that is dedicated to getting better and toughing games like today’s out,” UNT coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Most of the time we are facing a more experienced and mature team.”

UNT reached the eight-win milestone by making a few clutch plays down the stretch of a game that was tied at 44-44 entering the fourth quarter.

None were bigger than a layup from N’Yah Boyd. Southern Miss had taken a 54-53 lead on a 3 from Allie Kennedy with 7:32 left.

Boyd answered when she cashed in a Southern Miss turnover to spark a 9-2 UNT run. Jazion Jackson capped the run with a 3 that put UNT up 61-55.

North Texas never looked back and completed its third sweep in C-USA play. The Mean Green have never finished over .500 in the league and appear poised to get there considering they have six games remaining in league play.

The Mean Green’s quick run to eight games is all the more impressive considering the coronavirus pandemic has cut into the number of games they have played this season. UNT needed just 10 conference games to get to the eight-win mark.

The Mean Green reached that milestone behind a solid offensive performance from Boyd and Quincy Noble. Boyd scored a game-high 22 points, while Noble chipped in 16.

Jalise Smallwood scored 16 points to lead three Southern Miss players who finished in double figures.

UNT trailed for nearly the entire first half and was down nine late in the first quarter before rallying.

Boyd scored the final five points in an 8-0 rally she capped with a pair of free throws that gave UNT its only lead of the half at 35-33. Southern Miss guard Kahia Warmsley hit a jumper in the closing seconds to tie the game at 35-35 at halftime.

Boyd hit a 3 early in the fourth quarter, when UNT ran out to a 52-47 lead. Southern Miss came all the way back to take a lead.

“We were down to our last 10 minutes,” Mitchell said. “It was who was going to win those 10 minutes. We took a page out of yesterday’s book and took care of things offensively and defensively.”

North Texas 76, Southern Miss 55

SOUTHERN MISS (6-8, 4-8) – Jones 2-2 3-6 7, Smallwood 5-13 3-3 16, Carter 2-5 0-0 4, Warmsley 6-10 1-1 13, Almond 0-5 0-0 0, Gross 1-5 0-0 3, Kennedy 3-6 0-0 9, Grayson 3-6 4-6 10, Warren 1-3 0-0 2, Gray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 11-16 64.

NORTH TEXAS (11-4, 8-2) – Lee 1-3 3-6 5, Townley 2-4 2-6 6, Noble 5-20 3-3 16, Jackson 2-5 4-5 9, Boyd 7-14, 5-8 22, Brooks 2-5 0-0 6, Villas-Gomis 1-1 0-0 2, Lampkin 2-2 2-2 6, McDowell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 19-30 72.

Southern Miss 14 18 4 19 — 55

North Texas 29 6 22 19 — 76

Three-point goals – Southern Miss 7-19 (Smallwood 3-7, Carter 0-1, Warmsley 0-1, Gross 1-5, Kennedy 3-4, Warren 0-1) UNT 9-28 (Noble 3-13, Jackson 1-4, Boyd 3-6, Brooks 2-5) Fouled out – none Rebounds – Southern Miss 39 (Grayson 10) UNT 34 (Townley 10) Assists – Southern Miss 11 (Almond 4), UNT 14 (Townley 4) Total fouls – Southern Miss 25, UNT 16 A – 843.

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

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