North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball soaring high going into matchup against metroplex rival SMU

Women’s basketball soaring high going into matchup against metroplex rival SMU

Women’s basketball soaring high going into matchup against metroplex rival SMU
December 02
11:00 2021

North Texas is facing off against Southern Methodist University tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in the Super Pit after winning the Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Cal Poly last weekend.

“We were calling it redemption week,” head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “We weren’t really happy with the week before that, […] and it was a goal of ours to come home 2-0 over that weekend.”

The Mean Green (4-2) beat Montana State University after being down 17 points during the first half. They also beat Saint Thomas University the next day 81-54 to secure the tournament victory. A key contributor in both wins was graduate student guard Amber Dixon who led the 17-point comeback win against Montana State (1-5) with 26 points in 27 minutes.

“Amber is getting comfortable,” Mitchell said. “I mean, that’s the Amber Dixon we played against the last four years [at Louisiana Tech]. So, for her to come out and be that dynamic was really encouraging.”

Heading into the game against SMU (3-3), the team has plenty of time to prepare with four days off, which can have pros and cons, redshirt junior guard Quincy Noble said.

“I believe it’s an advantage [to have four days off] because we get time to rest our bodies,” Noble said. “But at the same time, it can also be a disadvantage because you’re resting the whole time, but for us, I think it will be an advantage for us to work on some things that we learned this past weekend.”

The last time North Texas played SMU was back in 2018, where they lost 66-73. The only player left from that team is graduate student forward Madison Townley. Regardless of familiarity with their opponent, junior guard Jazion Jackson understands the importance of the matchup.

“This is one of the games that I’ve been most excited for,” Jackson said. “They’re a pretty good team, we have similar teams that play with the same play style as them in our conference, and I feel like it’ll give us a good look.”

Even though the Mean Green has not played SMU since Jackson came to North Texas, she is familiar with some of the players at SMU and still talks with some of them because she grew up in the Dallas metroplex, Jackson said.

During the first six games, North Texas is scoring 79.8 points per game to SMU’s 63.8 points per game. In addition, North Texas is shooting 35 percent from the three-point range, while SMU is shooting 27 percent on four fewer attempts. A weak point for the Mean Green last season was rebounding, but since inserting junior forward Jaylen Mallard into the starting lineup, they are outrebounding their opponents by 9.5 rebounds per game.

“She’s adding some boards for us,” Noble said. “You know for us guards that miss those shots, she’s grabbing them up, and she’s going back up and converting [offensive rebounds into points]. Her just being able to convert has really helped our starting unit.”

North Texas’s last loss was against another metroplex rival in the University of Texas Arlington, where the team lost by one point in overtime. Despite the statistical advantage over SMU, Noble is excited for another opportunity to play against another good team in the metroplex.

“We’re gonna meet teams that are just like us, and I think the fact that they’re just like us is the reason why it’s going to be something special,” Noble said. “Because similar teams going at it with each other, and [the fact] it’s Dallas and Denton, that’s the Metroplex rivalry right there. […] We lost to UTA, another really good team; I feel like we’re going to bring that momentum into playing SMU, another crosstown rival [and] we’re just hungry to get another win.”

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Paul Witwer

Paul Witwer

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