North Texas spent a lot of time talking about regrouping this week following a disappointing loss to rival Texas-Arlington.
The Mean Green went into that game off one of its best performances of the season — in a loss to Oklahoma — but looked nothing like the team that took the No. 13 Sooners to the wire against the Mavericks on Tuesday.
“Clearly this was disappointing, but it’s not the end of the world,” UNT coach Mike Petersen said following the 59-50 setback against UTA. “We are going to come to practice tomorrow and work.”
UNT (2-7) will find out if that work paid off today when the Mean Green visits Tulane at 4 p.m. at Devlin Fieldhouse in the first game of a brutal three-game road trip wrapped around a brief break for Christmas.
UNT will take on traditional Sun Belt Conference powers Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky in a three-day span beginning Dec. 27 with a game against the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
UNT could build some momentum heading into those games with a solid performance against Tulane, which might be easier than it sounds. The Green Wave is 7-2 and beat LSU on Dec. 9.
Tulane’s only losses came against Auburn and UNT’s Sun Belt rival Louisiana-Lafayette.
Sophomore guard Whitney Bibbins is averaging 12.8 points per game to lead Tulane.
Freshman forward Alexis Hyder and sophomore guard BreAnna Dawkins are averaging 11.8 and 11.2 points a game, respectively, for UNT, which struggled offensively against UTA.
The Mean Green hit just three of 25 shots from beyond the 3-point arc and finished with a 57-42 deficit in rebounds.
“This is the first game we gave away,” Petersen said. “We did not respect the sport very well. We didn’t play every play hard.”
The Mean Green’s poor performance seemed particularly ill-timed. UNT beat ULL in its Sun Belt opener prior to facing OU and against UTA had a chance to continue building toward its return to conference play. UNT failed to capitalize.
“We need to regroup, refocus and come out ready for Tulane on the road,” UNT forward Sara Stanley said.
UNT will have a chance to show that is how it responded to its loss to the Mavericks today in its final game before Christmas.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.