The team Jalie Mitchell rolled out in the opener of her third season at North Texas looked a whole lot different than the one she finished last season with.
It looked different from the one she anticipated having this summer as well.
The good news for the Mean Green following an 86-52 win over Mid-America Christian is that their rebuilt roster appears to be coming together.
Junior guard Terriell Bradley and freshman guard Lauren Holmes sparked an efficient offensive performance for UNT, which ran out to an early lead and never looked back. UNT's performance was a good sign less than a week after the Mean Green struggled to get by TWU in an exhibition.
"I am absolutely happy with the way things are coming together," Mitchell said. "That is big with everyone coming in over the summer, working together and playing together. You don't know when the chemistry will come around, but this team has done a good job on and off the floor. I am pleased with where we are."
UNT is counting on Bradley to help guide the Mean Green through the adjustment process and saw her come through with 18 points, six assists and six rebounds against the Lady Evangels. What might be even more encouraging for the Mean Green is the way Holmes continues to progress.
The Arkansas native posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds and continued to show why Mitchell has been excited about her.
"It went well," Holmes said of her first regular-season game at UNT. "I really like the chemistry and the team in general. Everyone is easy to get along with and helps me a lot."
Bradley helped everyone on UNT's roster, including Holmes, settle in during the early going when she scored the first six points in a 9-0 run that gave the Mean Green the lead for good.
UNT was up 12-3 at that point and went on to take a 49-24 lead at halftime.
The Mean Green had a few lapses along the way but were never seriously threatened.
Alexis Shannon and Mykala Flores each scored 13 points for the NAIA Lady Evangels.
"We played pretty well," Mitchell said. "It was a great effort as a group -- much better than last week."
UNT knew heading into the season that it might need some time to come together after losing several key players to graduation in addition to senior guard Tyara Warren and sophomore forward Madison Townley. Warren had to give up the game due to a knee injury, while Townley is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Those losses left UNT with a lot of rebuilding to do. The way the Mean Green played against the Lady Evangels left them encouraged about where they are in the process.
"We are doing pretty well," Bradley said. "I like the effort and the way we moved the ball around out there. The tempo was good. We definitely improved."
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.
North Texas 86, Mid-America Christian 52
MID-AMERICA CHRISTIAN (3-1) - Shannon 5-9 2-3 13, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Coffman 2-13 0-0 4, Denton 1-6 0-0 3, Flores 3-9 5-7 13, Thrailkill 0-0 0-0 0, Savage 3-10 1-2 10, Alley 1-2 0-2 3, Hines 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 0-1 2-2 2, Fairley 0-1 0-0 0, Ozoani 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 16-53 12-18 52.
NORTH TEXAS (1-0) - Buckner 6-8 0-2 12, Goodhart 4-9 0-1 9, Smith 2-5 2-2 8, Bradley 8-13, 1-2 18, Lauren Holmes 6-15 4-4 20, Henderson 0-1 0-0 0, Poland 4-6 0-0 8, Shillow 0-7 0-0 0, Terrell 0-2 3-4 3, Mims 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 34-72 10-15 86.
3-point goals - MACU 8-28 (Shannon 1-3, Coffman 0-4, Denton 1-5, Flores 2-4, Savage 3-9, Alley 1-2, Fairley 0-1), UNT 8-29 (Goodhart 1-4, Smith 2-2, Bradley 1-4, Holmes 4-10, Poland 0-1, Shillow 0-7, Terrell 0-1) Rebounds - MACU 33 (Flores 7), UNT 48 (Holmes 12) Assists - MACU 7 (Savage 2), UNT 15 (Bradley 6) Total fouls - MACU 16, UNT 321. A - 1,007.