Over the course of their careers, Laura McCoy and Alexis Hyder have played a key role in a lot of wins for North Texas.
The pair of Mean Green mainstays were back at it again Wednesday and gave UNT its first league win as a member of Conference USA.
Both Hyder and McCoy came off the bench and tallied season-high point totals for the Mean Green, which roared past Marshall in the second half for a landmark 63-50 win at the Super Pit.
“We got awesome performances from Laura and Alexis,” UNT coach Mike Petersen said. “Both had been struggling a bit. For us to be as good as we can be, we need both of them to contribute. They were both really good tonight.”
McCoy had gone scoreless in UNT’s last three games and five of the Mean Green’s last six. Hyder failed to score in UNT’s loss to Charlotte.
McCoy and Hyder were determined to turn their fortunes around in the first game of a two-game C-USA homestand and reaped the rewards in the Mean Green’s win over Marshall.
Hyder scored 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while McCoy went 5-for-10 and had the 3-point stroke she is known for working.
The senior hit three 3s in eight attempts.
“I have been struggling and have been trying to get in the gym and get extra shots up,” McCoy said. “That helped me. It just gets mental. You start missing shots and overthinking it. You have to get out of that mindset. I hope it’s something I can build on.”
Briesha Wynn also played well for UNT (7-9, 1-2 C-USA), finishing with a double-double that included 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“I need to play her,” Petersen said of McCoy. “She can’t go 5-for-10 if she doesn’t play more minutes. She has been struggling a little. We have been struggling a little. Today she played better, so she got a lot of run. It’s hard to make shots when you are over there on the sideline with me.”
McCoy and Hyder were on the sideline to start the game, which was perfectly fine with them.
“I wanted to be energy off the bench,” Hyder said. “I didn’t want to be a liability. I tried to focus on finishing and causing foul pressure. I didn’t want to be just someone to give someone a breather. I wanted to be a presence on the court.”
UNT needed the presence Hyder and McCoy provided after getting off to a slow start.
Marshall (7-9, 0-3) jumped out to an 18-6 lead before UNT got on track.
The Mean Green came back to tie the game at 21 on a pair of Acheil Tac free throws at the 4:23 mark of the first half.
UNT led briefly at 25-23 late in the first half before Marshall tied it up heading into halftime on Suporia Dickens’ layup.
The Mean Green shot just 28.1 percent (9-for-32) in the first half but forced 12 turnovers.
“Our players did a really good job when we mixed defenses,” Petersen said. “They weren’t really comfortable with where they were supposed to be.”
Leah Scott scored 15 points to lead Marshall, which couldn’t keep up with UNT in the second half.
UNT went on a 7-0 run early in the half to take a 42-34 lead. The Mean Green cruised the rest of the way.
Petersen wasn’t ready to declare UNT’s first win in C-USA play a monumental one, but he certainly was happy to see UNT come through.
“It beats the alternative,” Petersen said. “I’m happy. I really am.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.