1A Sports teaser

North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell cheers after her team from the sideline at the Super Pit last season. UNT will travel to Dallas to take on SMU on Wednesday. 

North Texas has been able to count on a stout defense throughout Jalie Mitchell’s four seasons with the Mean Green.

The challenge at times — particularly this year — has been finding consistent scoring.

UNT is feeling a whole lot better about where it is in that regard heading into its annual rivalry game with SMU on Wednesday. The Mean Green (2-3) exploded offensively in a 92-78 win over North Dakota State in their last game and have seen two of their key players show signs of finding their form.

Senior guard Terriell Bradley went off for a career-high 40 points in UNT’s win over North Dakota State over the weekend, while junior college transfer Anisha George has begun to establish herself as a threat offensively in the post.

George scored 17 points in a loss to Wyoming and came back to score eight points on 4-of-5 shooting against North Dakota State. The development of the 6-2 post player and the continued solid play of guard Trena Mims have given UNT three effective scorers.

“We have improved offensively over the last few games,” UNT guard Brittany Smith said. “We have been moving the ball. Terriell has been on fire as usual. Trena and Anisha have been playing well. A lot of people have been stepping up.”

The Mean Green will look to continue that trend when they take on the Mustangs. UNT knocked off SMU 47-40 last season at the Super Pit, continuing the trend of the home team winning since Mitchell took over the Mean Green program in the 2015-16 season.

UNT fell to the Mustangs 65-51 on its last trip to Moody Coliseum.

Breaking that trend won’t be easy in what has long been a hotly contested series.

“It’s always been a rivalry back to even before I played,” said Mitchell, UNT’s all-time leading scorer. “It was a rivalry when I played, for sure. It’s a game you look forward to.”

The Mean Green feel better about their chances to break through for a win on SMU’s home floor after snapping a three-game losing streak with their win over North Dakota State in their final game of the Tiger Turkey Tipoff.

“Offensively we did some things that worked out,” Mitchell said. “I told them we need to keep the new offense and the old defense. I don’t like giving up 70 points to anybody.”

UNT went 12-of-24 from 3-point range in its last outing.

“We were moving a lot more on offense,” Bradley said. “It was more fluid. My shot was falling early. I could feel it was going to be a good day.”

Bradley is averaging 18.2 points to lead UNT, while fellow guard Mims is adding 12.6 points per game.

The Mean Green could need another solid offensive performance to knock off SMU. The Mustangs (4-3) have won consecutive games behind a deep lineup led by Alicia Froling.

The 6-3 senior forward is averaging 13.9 points and 11.6 rebounds as one of three Mustangs averaging in double figures. Freshman guards Amber Bacon and Kayla White are each adding 11.3 points per game.

“SMU is a good team with some great players,” Smith said. “It will be a tough one. Their size is a challenge. We are pretty small, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”

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

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