NORFOLK, Va. (ODUSports.com) - The Old Dominion (22-3, 12-1 C-USA) women's basketball team earned its 11th straight win with a 71-66 victory over North Texas on the 18th Annual Hoops for the Cure game. After the Mean Green clawed back within two points of ODU at the end of the third quarter, the Monarchs broke away in the fourth with 17 points to North Texas' 14 points.
"It was really good to see all that pink in the stands," said head coach Nikki McCray. "I think we have a lot of players on this team that have been affected by cancer in one way or another and obviously myself personally. I thought our kids battled and fought and remained true to our identity, which is what we do. We battle and fight every game. Tonight was really for them and I'm thankful we got the win."
The Monarchs got off to a hot start and led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. Alabama native Ajah Wayne went four-for-five, notching eight points to pace the way for the Monarchs in the opening frame. ODU shot 57 percent from the field in the first and out-rebounded the Mean Green, 11-7.
In the second quarter, scoring picked up a bit with ODU draining three triples, two of which came from junior Victoria Morris. Sophomore Amari Young added two key blocks to hold North Texas to 39 percent from the field in the second quarter. The Monarchs went into the break leading North Texas by 14 points, one point short of the Monarchs biggest lead of the entire game.
The Monarchs struggled coming out of the locker room, recording just 38 percent from the field. Five of the Monarchs 13 third quarter points were scored from senior Taylor Edwards. In that quarter, the Mean Green outscored ODU 25-13. Despite the strong quarter from North Texas, ODU did not trail the entire quarter. Momentum flipped for ODU in the final quarter with Morris and Young added six points each. The Mean Green turned the ball over four times, which led to four Monarch points off turnovers. Monarch offense ultimately broke away after a Young jumper and a Morris trey opened the lead to eight and propelled ODU to the finish.
"This probably wasn't our best game but there were a lot of emotions in the game itself and the cause. I think fatigue played a factor because we had an overtime game Thursday with Rice and we have a limited bench. We had to play big minutes to games in a row. We found a way to win and that's what championship teams do, they find a way."
Overall, ODU found trouble from the free throw line, going 12-of-27. Morris finished the contest with 17 points, while Wayne collected her fifth double-double this season, notching 13 points and 11 rebounds.
ODU will hit the road to take on Charlotte on Feb. 22 and Marshall on Feb. 24.