The Charlotte 49ers took on the North Texas Mean Green Saturday in Dale F. Halton Arena. The Charlotte 49ers (12-10, C-USA 4-6) went four long quarters with the Mean Green (11-10, C-USA 4-5) only outscoring them in the second quarter. Freshman point guard Mariah Linney broke out for 28 points in a career high effort against North Texas. She was assisted by point guard Laia Raventos who had 16 points while also going 4-4 from behind the arc, and Octavia Jett-Wilson with seven points.
The first quarter of play opened up with the North Texas Mean green coming out to a strong swift start. Putting the ball in the hoop early, North Texas took the tempo by the reigns, and forced the 49ers to meet them where they were. Freshman forward Jazmin Harris would be the first to see herself on the board. A jumper from North Texas, then a bucket from Octavia Jett Wilson gave the 49ers a wind that they had the potential to ride for the rest of the quarter. The Mean Green would refuse to lie down that easily though. The quarter would become a back and forth scoring effort from both sides. Towards the end of the quarter, the Senior Charlotte point guard would wake up. A three ball from North Texas’ Calllie Owens would elicit a response from Raventos, putting the 49ers down four walking out the quarter. Charlotte would trail 18-22.
The Mean green would start their quarter out with two free throws knocked down by Deja Terrell. A jumper from Jade Phillips would put the 49ers on the board to start off the quarter, and triple with Raventos would follow suit. Both teams couldn’t seem to find their shot for the next few possessions, but a jump shot from Raventos as the 6:26 mark and a three ball from Christian Hithe would give the 49ers their first lead of the game 28-27. North Texas would respond immediately with a three of their own, taking back the lead, but Mariah Linney, undoubtley the player of the game, would begin to make her case for it with a triple, taking back the lead. Charlotte would solidify their lead with two more triples, and two free throws from Linney. Charlotte leads 24-12.
The second half of play started off with North Texas not taking too kindly to the 49ers performance last half. Offensively, the Mean Green began to click in a way they hadn’t in previous quarters. North Texas would begin to dominate down low. Bradley Terriell would come up with two clutch lay ups, along with a jumper Anisha George. The 49ers wouldn’t score until around the seven minute mark off of a Mariah Linney free throw, giving the Mean Green more than enough time to create and establish a momentum of their own. Linney would score the next five buckets for Charlotte with a mix of free throws and transition buckets. Linney’s contribution would not be enough to combat the Mean Green’s paint presence down low and their second chance buckets. North Texas would finish the quarter with six points off of offensive boards in comparison to the 49ers zero.
The absence of the usually assertive presence of Harris definitely played a role. The 49ers would reverse roles with the Mean Green at the start of the fourth quarter, scrambling to catch a wave off of a jumper from Mariah Linney and two free throws from Octavia Jett-Wilson. The battle would continue on in the fourth quarter, with Charlotte taking the lead with a little over three minutes left. After this, the game would be on lock. The 49ers would not score again besides a free throw from Octavia Jett-Wilson late in the quarter. The North Texas Mean Green would close the match 68-63.
The 49ers take on Middle Tennesse Thursday in Denton, Texas.