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Women’s basketball closes in on division lead
Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer
Though it was close down the stretch, the Mean Green women’s basketball team squeezed out a road win against Sun Belt West Division-leading Arkansas State University on Sunday, 64-62.
Arkansas State was in the middle of a seven-game win streak, but UNT ended that and notched its second road win of the week. The Mean Green is now one game behind Arkansas State in the Sun Belt West and will face the Red Wolves again in the final game of the regular season – possibly for the West Division supremacy.
“We did not have our A-game today and we still went on the road and broke [a seven-game] winning streak on a very tough home court,” head coach Mike Petersen said. “Now we’ve set the table for some really interesting games down the stretch.”
The Mean Green was sustained by yet another huge game from freshman forward Alexis Hyder, who scored a career-high 23 points and added nine rebounds, leaving her one shy of her sixth double-double of the season.
“It just so happened that I was more involved,” Hyder said. “They were weak in some areas and we picked them apart in those areas.”
Due to her performance against Arkansas State and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette last week, Hyder was named SBC player of the week on Monday.
The Mean Green showed poise throughout the game, which contributed to the upset win. When UNT started the season 2-10, seven of its losses were by five points or less. Beating Arkansas State by two points shows mental improvement for the team, Petersen said.
“We had a lot of discussions during timeouts about maturity,” Petersen said. “Mature competitors stay in the moment. They don’t pout if they miss a shot, and they don’t talk noise if they make a shot. They just play.”
Even when some of the usual contributors were having quiet games, the Mean Green was still able to find ways to score points.
Senior forward Sara Stanley, who averages 8.4 points a game, and junior guard Desiree Nelson, who averages 4.7, each stepped up for UNT to produce 12 points each.
Nelson said Arkansas State’s defense made her feel comfortable shooting from behind the three-point line. She hit two of three attempted three-pointers.
“I felt like sometimes they were sagging off, which opened me up from there,” Nelson said.
The Mean Green will play Western Kentucky University at the Super Pit at 5 p.m. on Thursday. UNT has a chance for payback after an 82-80 loss earlier in the season.