Chalk talk: UNT vs. UAB (C-USA tourney)

North Texas coach Jalie Mitchell and the Mean Green will take on UAB in the Conference USA tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Jeff Woo)

North Texas coach Jalie Mitchell and the Mean Green will take on UAB in the Conference USA tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Jeff Woo)

No. 8 North Texas vs. No. 9 UAB

Conference USA tournament

When: 12:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Bartow Arena, Birmingham, Alabama

Radio: KNTU-FM 88.1

Streaming: campusinsiders.com

Records: UNT 11-18, UAB 15-14

Last game: Marshall 60, UNT 57; UAB 78, Florida Atlantic 75

Projected UNT starting lineup:

PG: Kelsey Criner, 5-7, Sr. — Criner has come through in several key situations throughout her career and could be an important player for UNT in the postseason. She scored five points and handed out four assists in UNT’s loss to Marshall.  She is averaging 8.6 points per game and has 91 assists on the season.

G: Tyara Warren, 5-9, So. — Warren is coming off one of her better games of the season. The sophomore scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in UNT’s loss to Marshall. She is averaging 7.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

G: Candice Adams, 5-8, Sr. — Adams is coming off a rare off shooting night in UNT’s loss to Marshall. The senior scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting, all from 3-point range. Adams is averaging 8.3 points per game and has hit 57 shots from beyond the arc this season.

G: Terriell Bradley, 5-10, So. — Bradley scored 14 points, but turned the ball over six times in UNT’s loss to Marshall. The sophomore has been UNT’s most consistent offensive player. She is averaging 13.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

F: Terra Ellison, 5-11, Sr. — Ellison scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in UNT’s loss to Marshall to cap the regular season. The senior is averaging 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Ellison is shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

Scouting UAB: The Blazers enter the C-USA tournament on a roll after sweeping Florida Atlantic and Florida International on a road trip to end the regular season. The Blazers rank second among teams in C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage at 37.8 percent and feature the league’s Freshman of the Year in Rachael Childress. The 5-10 guard is averaging 12.6 points per game and is one of C-USA’s best 3-point shooters. She ranks second in the league with an average of 3.1 makes per game, while her 40.4 shooting percentage from deep ranks third.

What you need to know: UNT stumbled to the finish of the regular season while losing its last four games.  The Mean Green’s schedule had a lot to do with that. UNT faced Western Kentucky, Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech late in the year, but lost a game it should have won at home to cap the regular season against Marshall.

The question now is if the Mean Green can rebound.

The key will be chasing the Blazers off the 3-point arc. UAB has two of the top four 3-point shooters in C-USA when it comes to percentage in Childress and Deanna Kuzmanic, who is shooting 37.5 percent.

UNT has gone to a smaller quicker lineup late in the season. That could help the Mean Green run UAB off the 3-point arc.

A win today would be huge for UNT, which would be able to point to winning a C-USA tournament game for a second straight season and improving its conference regular season win total from five to eight as signs of progress.

Unfortunately for both teams, the winner will face Western Kentucky in the second round.

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