MONROE, La. — Loryn Goodwin could have taken the ball to the basket with time running out in North Texas’ game against Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday.
All UNT needed was a layup to extend the game into overtime.
The easy option wasn’t nearly as appealing as the alternative — taking an all-or-nothing 3-pointer — was to Goodwin.
The decision Goodwin made and the outcome were not surprising considering the way the freshman’s season has gone lately.
Goodwin nailed the long-distance shot with 5 seconds left, and UNT hung on for a 76-75 win at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
“I didn’t think about it,” Goodwin said. “A 2 would have just tied the game. I wanted to win it right there. I like the pressure and not knowing what is going to happen next.”
Goodwin finished with a career-high 28 points against ULM (7-17, 5-10 Sun Belt) and, with seven, matched the UNT freshman record for 3-pointers in a game she set Saturday against Florida International.
Alexis Hyder added a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds for UNT, which snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the fifth time in its last six road games.
The Mean Green (10-15, 9-7) broke the school record for 3-pointers in a season by pushing its total to 144, surpassing the mark of 134 set in the 2001-02 season.
Alexar Tugler scored 20 points to lead ULM, which had won four of its last five games.
“I told the team that I am very pleased with the win,” UNT coach Mike Petersen said. “We are always going to be honest with ourselves. We did not play very well tonight. That is not as good as we can play, but good teams win when they don’t play well. Tonight we won when we didn’t play very well.”
UNT had to make all the key plays down the stretch after ULM squandered a golden opportunity to ice the game in the closing minutes. Elexar Tugler hit a 3 with 35 seconds left to put ULM up 75-71.
Goodwin missed a layup with 15 seconds left, but Sara Stanley grabbed the rebound and scored to cut UNT’s deficit to two points.
UNT fouled Alexar Tugler with 9.8 seconds left, sending her to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Tugler missed the front end. Hyder grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Laura McCoy, who found Goodwin on the wing for her seventh 3 of the game.
“What has changed since the beginning of the season is that we have faith in Loryn to make that shot,” UNT freshman forward Hyder said. “We are looking for Loryn.”
Petersen had faith in UNT to make the right decision in a scramble situation instead of calling a timeout to draw up a set play for its final possession.
“We had a set play on a make, but on a miss I believe that chaos favors offense,” Petersen said. “What I told the team after the game is that whether or not that goes in, it was a good shot. Make or a miss, I was happy with that look.”
What was particularly satisfying for UNT was that it worked through a night when not everything went well to win another game in Sun Belt play.
UNT trailed 35-32 at halftime after trailing by as many as eight points. ULM went on an 8-0 run to take a 26-18 lead before the Mean Green got on track behind Goodwin.
The freshman went 4-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half and scored 17 points. Two of Goodwin’s treys came late in the first half, including one that pulled UNT to within 30-27.
Goodwin hit her fourth 3 of the half moments later to cut ULM’s lead to 33-32. Alayshia Hunter answered with a jumper to give the Warhawks a three-point edge at halftime.
UNT seemed to take control early in the second half when McCoy hit a pair of 3’s and Hyder added another before Goodwin put the Mean Green up 46-38 with a jumper.
ULM didn’t go away and eventually built a 68-62 lead.
“There were times tonight when we played with great energy and there were times when we didn’t,” Petersen said. “They played with tremendous confidence. We thought they might go away and they didn’t. That is a credit to them.”
UNT had lost its last two games to Western Kentucky and FIU and felt like it needed to end that slide quickly.
“We had a drive to win,” Hyder said. “We needed this win.”
A gutsy shot by Goodwin gave it to them.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
NORTH TEXAS 76, LOUISIANA-MONROE 75
NORTH TEXAS (10-15, 9-7) — Stanley 3-6 0-1 6, Hyder 7-19 8-10 23, McCoy 2-4 4-4 8, Dawkins 2-8 1-2 5, Goodwin 10-21 1-2 28, Christian 2-5 0-1 4, Evans 1-1 0-0 2, Blakely 0-1 0-0 0, Nelson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-65 12-18 76.
LOUISIANA-MONROE (7-17, 5-10) — Simmons 3-5 1-2 7, A. Tugler 8-14 0-1 20, E. Tugler 4-6 3-6 12, Shaw 5-17 4-5 14, Gray 2-2 0-0 4, Hunter 5-8 2-4 12, Shin 1-5 0-0 3, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Holley 1-1 1-1 3. Totals 29-58 11-19 75.
Halftime — ULM 35-32. 3-point goals — UNT 10-18 (Hyder 1-1, McCoy 2-4, Goodwin 7-12, Christian 0-1), ULM 6-15 (A. Tulger 4-8, E. Tugler 1-1, Shaw 0-2, Shin 1-4). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — UNT 33 (Hyder 14), ULM 40 (Simmons 10). Assists — UNT 15 (McCoy 6), ULM 18 (A, Tugler 6). Total fouls — UNT 10, ULM 16.