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Women's basketball: UNT uses hot shooting from deep to post first win over Charlotte

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

There are times when a look is all North Texas coach Jalie Mitchell needs to see that Lauren Holmes, Grace Goodhart and a few other guards have it going in terms of shooting it from deep.

UNT's last two games mark two of those times. The Mean Green bombed in a program-record 20 shots from 3-point range in that span, including 10 Saturday in a milestone 73-68 win over Charlotte at the Super Pit.

The biggest of those 3s came in the closing seconds when Lauren Holmes splashed one in from the corner with 26 seconds left. That shot broke a 68-all tie and gave UNT the spark it needed to post its first win over Charlotte.

The Mean Green were 0-7 against the 49ers all-time.

"It's a huge win," Mitchell said. "This is a team that was picked ahead of us in the preseason and is a program that we haven't beaten before. We were also outmatched in terms of length. It was all fight."

UNT (11-5, 2-2 Conference USA) is just one win short of matching its total from all of last season largely because of the way it continues to fill it up from 3-point range.

The Mean Green had four players connect from deep in their win over Charlotte (6-11, 2-2), including Terriell Bradley, who hit three 3s on her way to scoring a game-high 22 points. Goodhart went 4-for-6 from deep and finished with 14 points. Holmes added two 3s and Trena Mims one.

Holmes hit just two shots all day, but both were from deep after Charlotte took a 66-63 lead on a pair of Octavia Wilson free throws with 4:07 left.

Holmes tied the game with her first 3 off an assist from Goodhart. Charlotte answered with a jumper from Nyliah Jamison-Myers before Bradley tied the game again at 68 with a pair of free throws.

UNT took a timeout with 38 seconds left to set up a final shot and worked the ball to Holmes in the corner, where she calmly knocked down a wide-open 3.

"I was thinking that I would make it," Holmes said. "It felt really good, especially since I hadn't been hitting.

"It was definitely the biggest shot I have hit."

Amaya Ransom missed a 3 on Charlotte's next possession, and Bradley iced the game with a pair of free throws.

"We were looking for an open shot," Mitchell said of UNT's key possession. "We knew it would be open on that side or on ball reversal. They knew to take the first open shot we got."

UNT got several good looks against Charlotte and was able to pull away while putting up its second-highest point total of the season. The Mean Green scored 83 points in a season-opening win over Mid-America Christian.

"I am happy with the way we are shooting," Mitchell said. "It's comfort and confidence."

Charlotte wasn't able to keep up, despite having three players finish in double figures. Laia Ravenros led the 49ers with 19 points and helped Charlotte get off to a great start.

UNT trailed for nearly all of the first half and was down 20-9 after Octavia Wilson converted a three-point play.

The Mean Green crawled back into the game and closed the half on an 8-0 run that gave UNT a 35-34 lead.

"Energy and urgency brought us out of it early," Goodhart said. "This team has a lot of fight. We always find a way to get into games. Today we found a way to pull out the win."

UNT has relied on its defense most of the season and came in allowing just 50.7 points per game. The Mean Green had to find another way to win after struggling to contain Charlotte in the paint. The 49ers finished with a 39-28 edge in rebounds and scored 23 second-chance points.

UNT's solution was to keep its shooting roll going from deep.

"I am really, really proud of our team, our fight and the way we hung in there," Mitchell said. "We gutted it out. We talked about how we handled the situation at the end of the game. It was perfect. I couldn't have asked for any more."

Especially not from Holmes, who hit the shot that pushed UNT over the top.

"It was super clutch for her to take it and knock it down," Mitchell said. "It was beautiful."

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

FEATURED PHOTO: North Texas freshman guard Lauren Holmes hits on of her two late three-pointers that helped lift the Mean Green to a win over Charlotte while being guarded by 49ers guard Amaya Ransom on Saturday at the Super Pit. (Jeff Woo/DRC)

North Texas 73, Charlotte 68

CHARLOTTE (6-12, 2-2) -- Jamison-Myers 7-12 2-5 16, Pearson 3-9 0-2 6, Raventos 6-16 5-5 19, Wilson 5-9 3-3 14, Ransom 1-9 0-0 2, Linney 3-5 0-0 6, Harley 1-2 0-0 2, Robinson 1-1 1-1 3. Totals 27-63 11-16 68.

NORTH TEXAS (11-5, 2-2) -- Buckner 5-10 0-0 10, Goodhart 4-8 2-2 14, Smith 2-6 0-2 4, Bradley 6-9 7-10 22, Holmes 2-6 0-0 6, Henderson 2-2 0-0 4, Poland 1-2 0-0 2, Terrell 0-0 0-0 0, Mims 5-8 0-0 11. Totals 27-51 9-14 73.

Charlotte 23 11 21 13 -- 68
North Texas 18 17 20 18 -- 73

Three-point goals - Charlotte 3-13 (Raventos 2-4, Wilson 1-3, Ransom 0-5, Linney 0-1) UNT 10-18 (Goodhart 4-6, Bradley 3-5, Holmes 2-5, Mims 1-2) Fouled out - none Rebounds - Charlotte 39 (Two tied, 10), UNT 28 (Bradley 7) Assists - Charlotte 15 (Raventos 7), UNT 20 (Smith 7) Total fouls (Charlotte 15, UNT 28) A -- 643