North Texas Daily

Destinee calls: Freshman adding scoring threat to women’s basketball

Destinee calls: Freshman adding scoring threat to women’s basketball

November 20
13:40 2019

*All stats are as of Nov. 19*

Despite the North Texas women’s basketball team starting off the season 1-2, it’s already begun to feel the impact from one of its newest players in freshman forward Destinee McDowell.

The freshman currently serves a bench role and averages 21 minutes per game. Despite this, she trails only senior post player Anisha George for the team-high in points per game (21) and leads the team in steals with eight. Although it’s early in the season, McDowell’s play has garnered the attention of her teammates and head coach Jalie Mitchell.

“[McDowell] has stepped up,” George said. “She has been really consistent and like [Mitchell] said, she’s building trust with not only the coach but with us. Even though she’s a freshman her game speaks more than her class.”

Through three games this season, McDowell has maintained a field goal percentage of 58.3, the second-highest on the team to George. The freshman forward is also third on the team in rebounds per game (7.3) and free throw percentage (72.7 percent).

Considering McDowell’s performance this early in the season in the role she’s been given, one would surmise that her love for the game is an important pillar to what makes her a successful student-athlete. Now, McDowell’s passion for her sport is, in fact, unquestionable, but there was a time in her life when she didn’t have the passion she brandishes to this day.

“My time in high school was pretty rough,” McDowell said. “I stopped playing basketball for a short period of time. So that just made me start respecting and loving the game more. I just lost the love for the game, I don’t know why but it just happened. But I’m glad I got the love back and I love [basketball] more than I ever did before.”

McDowell attended three different high schools before settling in Cedar Hill for her senior year. She spent her freshman year attending Duncanville and her sophomore and junior year with Tremble Tech. Despite the adversities that came with changing schools twice, she managed to overcome that in her final year of high school. In her senior year, she was the overall MVP and Defensive MVP with Cedar Park and was named the 7-6A Newcomer of the Year.

One of the main things McDowell really accrued during her time in high school was a strong work ethic. Moreover, her work ethic and her ability to remain mentally strong through adversity were one of the things that drew Mitchell to recruit the Cedar Hill product. While most student-athletes are outspoken, the same can’t be said for McDowell, as she’s more on the quiet side which made for a unique experience when it came to being recruited by Mitchell.

“Well it’s funny with her because she wasn’t very talkative,” Mitchell said. “She was probably our least talkative recruit but I know she listens. To me, she’s been eager to learn and hungry for more knowledge. You kind of had to guess on some things in the recruiting process because she was pretty quiet, but she’s been great for us so far.”

In McDowell’s eyes, coming to play for North Texas and Mitchell was a drastic change of scenery in terms of the difference in the team chemistry compared to high school. Positive team camaraderie was something foreign to McDowell, as she had never bonded with her teammates in high school the way she’s bonded with her Mean Green teammates.

“I love my teammates, we’re so tight,” McDowell said. “I’ve never had team chemistry like that, at first I didn’t think we were going to be this tight. But we’re tight with everybody, there’s no cliches or groups, it’s just everybody.”

With McDowell shaping up to be one of the pivotal pieces for her team, her performances may warrant more playing time or a potential starting position. With the season as young as it is, there is room for opportunity as Mitchell has declared that an established starting lineup isn’t set as of right now. However, she was adamant that whatever role McDowell was tasked with, the freshman forward would play to the best of her ability regardless of what the role consisted of.

“I think whatever role she has she’s going to hold it down,” Mitchell said. “That’s what I love about her: She’s dependable and I’m very appreciative of what she brings to the table.”

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

Sports Editor

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