For a fleeting moment, it looked like Laura McCoy had salvaged an otherwise mediocre outing for North Texas.
The senior guard had the Super Pit crowd and her teammates on their feet after she slid open off a busted play and drilled a 3-pointer with six seconds left Saturday. The shot appeared to have given the Mean Green a huge come-from-behind win over Conference USA foe Texas-San Antonio.
The excitement abruptly turned to disbelief, however, as the Roadrunners’ Miki Turner banked in her own desperation 3 at the buzzer to steal a 58-56 win.
The shot was reviewed and upheld by officials, who initially weren’t sure if Turner released the ball before the horn.
“I didn’t know how much time was left, but I thought we had won the game,” said McCoy, who finished with seven points. “To get beat at the last second is very disappointing, not because I was the one who made the previous shot but rather because of how hard we all worked to come back.”
UNT (7-10, 1-3 C-USA) trailed by 18 points with 7:59 left in the first half before putting together a stretch during which it outscored UTSA 39-19. The surge bled well into the second half as North Texas took a 48-46 lead with 6:20 left.
Even after the Roadrunners (11-6, 2-2) went on their own 9-3 run for a four-point lead with 37 seconds left, Alexis Hyder — who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds —muscled in a layup to pull North Texas to within two points and set up McCoy’s would-be winner.
In the clutch, UTSA went back to what it had been unstoppable at all game. Turner finished with 19 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range. Ashley Spaletta, who added 17 points, hit five 3s as the Roadrunners made 10 of 19 from 3-point range.
North Texas had more of a roller-coaster performance, shooting 36.5 percent from the field despite staging its impressive comeback. That allowed UTSA to stay in the game, as the Roadrunners never trailed by more than three points in the late stages of the second half.
“Turner comes in 3-for-14 on the year from 3-point range and goes 4-for-4 today,” UNT coach Mike Petersen said. “The one she made at the end was well-guarded, but all the ones she made before were all on us. We just didn’t get a hand up on the kid. We didn’t do a reasonable job at all in the first half of closing her out, so the bottom line is we never should have been in that situation.”
Petersen was critical of his team for not playing with a better sense of urgency. The Mean Green entered the game having knocked off Marshall for its first conference win but didn’t look like the same team.
After battling to a 5-all tie, North Texas went cold from the field and was outscored 22-4 while UTSA built a 27-9 lead. The Roadrunners made five 3-pointers during that surge.
“I’m not saying we weren’t trying or didn’t want to win the game,” Petersen said. “If we play with a sense of urgency, though, we are pretty good. Right now, though, we are not mature enough to play for extended periods of time with a sense of urgency. That happens to us on a regular basis.”
Saturday’s game was the first meeting between North Texas and Texas-San Antonio since Nov. 28, 2008. UNT leads the series 14-7.
Texas-San Antonio 58, North Texas 56
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO (11-6, 2-2 C-USA) — Adams 1-4 0-2 2, Bell 1-6 2-3 4, Turner 6-10 3-6 19, King 2-10 4-4 9, Spaletta 6-10 0-0 17, Heard 0-0 0-0 0, Mitchell-Cole 1-3 1-3 3, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Tate 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 19-46 10-18 58.
NORTH TEXAS (7-10, 1-3 C-USA) — Wynn 3-7 0-0 6, Hyder 8-15 4-7 20, McCoy 2-9 1-2 7, Peterson 0-4 3-6 3, Adams 1-3 0-0 2, Christian 2-8 0-0 6, Evans 0-0 4-4 4, Tac 2-3 2-2 6, Nelson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 19-52 14-21 56.
Halftime — UTSA 38-28. Three-point goals — UNT 4-14 (McCoy 2-5, Peterson 0-2, Christian 2-6, Nelson 0-1), UTSA 10-19 (Adams 0-1, Turner 4-4, King 1-5, Spaletta 5-8, Mitchell-Cole 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — UNT 40 (Hyder 12), UTSA 28 (Adams 5). Assists — UNT 6 (Wynn 2, McCoy 2, Nelson 2), UTSA 12 (Turner 5). Total fouls — UNT 17, UTSA 19.