North Texas Daily

Opinion: Tim’s Take: Women’s basketball needs maturity from young players

Opinion: Tim’s Take: Women’s basketball needs maturity from young players

January 15
21:11 2013

Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer

The UNT men’s basketball team was not the only Mean Green squad to get off to a disappointing start this year. Maybe there was something in the water on campus, because the women’s team had an even worse start to the season. On New Year’s Day, its record was just 2-10.

The problem wasn’t talent. Game after game, the Mean Green stuck right with its opponents until suddenly losing its poise with just a few minutes remaining.

Seven of its ten losses were by five points or less. The Mean Green lost by four to Southern Methodist University (10-4), by five in triple overtime game against Alabama (10-6), by five against Arizona (9-5), and most impressively, and just three to nationally ranked Oklahoma (13-2).

It’s no wonder – the top three scorers on the Mean Green team are underclassmen.

Forward Alexis Hyder and guard Loryn Goodwin are both freshmen who have taken starting positions by force. In addition to the scoring, Hyder leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots, while Goodwin has the most steals and is second in three-pointers made.

Redshirt sophomore guard BreAnna Dawkins is the other underclassman. She sat out last year after transferring from Wichita State and plays a crucial role for the Mean Green as a scorer and ball-handler.

“Confidence” is the word head coach Mike Petersen used. In today’s world of sports, an emphasis is put on strength, speed and other physical traits. Sometimes, it’s easily forgotten that half of the battle happens in the mind.

The trio has played fantastic this season, but they are also the key players on the court late in games when North Texas has faltered.

Hyder and Goodwin are making the transition from a cozy high school gym to cavernous coliseums that are full of opposing fans specifically trying to get in their heads. After sitting the year out, Dawkins has to remember how to deal with these situations as well.

Let them play. Losing is tough, but the experience it provides is invaluable and crucial to the maturity process in these young players. Already, the players are starting to develop, overcoming a late deficit on Wednesday to beat Arkansas-Little Rock 68-65 in the last couple of minutes.

The players still have future tests to pass, but they’re on the right path. Ironically, the disappointing start and “oh-so-close” losses might be just the experience these young players need to lead the Mean Green to one of its strongest finishes ever.

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