Loryn Goodwin put on a display from behind the 3-point arc Saturday against Florida International.
The North Texas freshman drained shots from the corner, from the wing and from the top of the key. Goodwin finished with seven 3-pointers, the most for a freshman in UNT history.
That record ended up being a footnote after the Mean Green fell 72-63 at the Super Pit and saw its hopes to win the Sun Belt Conference West Division title take a hit.
UNT (9-15, 8-7 Sun Belt) entered the night a game behind Arkansas State in the division and fell a little further behind after the Red Wolves beat Western Kentucky.
UNT has lost four consecutive home games.
“The good news is that we are playing important games,” UNT coach Mike Petersen said. “We gave up another game to Arkansas State, but there are still games to be played and games to win.”
UNT has won plenty of big games this season, including pulling out a win at ASU last week.
The Mean Green had a chance to pick up what would have been a couple of key wins, but it lost to WKU and FIU in back-to-back games.
Goodwin came up with the best performance of her young career against FIU (15-9, 9-6) and put the Mean Green in position to snap its home slide.
The Houston native went 7 for 10 from behind the arc and finished with a career-high 26 points for UNT, which tied the school record for 3-pointers in a season. The Mean Green hit 134 in the 2001-02 season.
“I like playing in big games,” Goodwin said. “I like the pressure and not knowing what is going to happen next. I just played my hardest. This is the most important game we have played so far this season.”
Goodwin hit her first five 3-point attempts of the game.
“Loryn shot the ball great,” Petersen said. “She was really aggressive. She was the one who was shooting it well, so we kept going back to her. She did a great job of getting open, and the team did a good job of getting her good looks.”
Alexis Hyder scored 13 points and BreAnna Dawkins added 10 to give UNT three players in double figures, but the Mean Green made sure to get Goodwin the ball every chance it got.
“Loryn was knocking down shots, so we went to her,” Hyder said. “When someone is hot like that, you have to feed them.”
FIU followed the same plan with Jerica Coley, who entered the game leading the country with an average of 25.4 points per game. Coley matched Goodwin with 26 points.
Martina Davydova added 19 points for FIU and might have done even more damage while finishing with a double-double that included 11 rebounds.
Davydova scored six points in a 10-2 run in the second half to break open a close game.
UNT led by as many as four points early in the second half before FIU went up 57-50 following its run.
“We didn’t adjust,” Hyder said of Davydova. “It wasn’t a matter of not being able to contain her. We needed do a better job of paying attention to her.”
FIU never trailed after going on its second-half run, spoiling Goodwin’s big night.
Goodwin went 6 for 8 on her way to 17 points in the first half, which ended with FIU up 33-32.
UNT trailed 22-15 after FIU went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half before Goodwin scored nine consecutive points on three treys, the last of which cut the Golden Panthers’ lead to 30-29.
UNT went up 32-30 on a three-point play from Dawkins but saw FIU answer with its only 3 of the half — a shot from the corner by Zsofia Labady that gave the Golden Panthers the lead at halftime.
UNT appeared as if it might be on its way to a key win at that point, but it made a few key mistakes. The Mean Green entered the night shooting 74.0 percent from the free-throw line but went only 8 for 18 against FIU.
“We executed well tonight, but there were times we didn’t finish around the rim,” Petersen said. “The one thing we do well to win games is cash in our free throws, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Not cashing in left UNT with a longer road to climb if it wants win the West Division title.
“These things happen all the time to teams in February,” Goodwin said. “We lost two games at home, and that is disappointing. We play on the road now. What are we made of? I guess we will see.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florida International 72,North Texas 63
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (15-9, 9-6) — Ashmore 6-7 0-0 12, Davydova 8-11 3-3 19, Labady 1-9 2-2 5, Coley 9-23 8-9 26, Miloglav 0-0 0-0 0, Epnere 0-1 0-0 0, Masare 3-6 0-0 6, Durant 1-2 0-0 2, McKinzie 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 29-61 13-14 72.
NORTH TEXAS (9-15, 8-7) — Stanley 2-4 0-0 4, Hyder 5-8 3-8 13, McCoy 1-6 0-0 3, Dawkins 3-10 4-8 10, Goodwin 9-16 1-2 26, Christian 1-2 0-0 3, Evans 2-2 0-0 4, Blakely 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-49 8-18 63.
Halftime — FIU 33-32. Three-point goals — FIU 1-6 (Labady 1-4, Mansare 0-1, Durant 0-1). UNT 9-20 (McCoy 1-6, Dawkins 0-2, Goodwin 7-10, Christian 1-2). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — FIU 39 (Davydova 11), UNT 27 (Hyder 6). Assists — FIU 10 (Coley 4), UNT 8 (Stanley, McCoy, Goodwin 2). Total fouls — FIU 16, UNT 17. Technical fouls — UNT: Bench. A — 1,587.