North Texas Sports Journalism Class Opines on Key Topics

by BoCarter | Posted on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

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Editor’s Note (from Bo Carter, instructor, UNT Journalism 4350) – The University of North Texas Sports Journalism 4350 class recently wrote short features on the UNT-Xavier (La.) women’s basketball game, the 2019 Baseball World Series and opinions about 2019-20 college basketball season. Following are some of the leading excerpts from these stories and the class projects:

North Texas Slams Xavier (La.) Women’s Basketball Squad

By Jormoree’ Woods

DENTON – The UNT women’s basketball team defeated Xavier (Louisiana) Wednesday night, 68-31, in dominating fashion. The Mean Green basketball team took a defeating loss to rival UT Arlington, 68-49, on Friday, November 15. The team was challenged by head coach Jalie Mitchell on what they wanted their new identity to be for this season.

“We’ve been inconsistent,” Mitchell said. “I think in order for a team to be successful, you have to know who you are, and what you bring to the table… You have to know how you’re going to win.”

UNT started their season with a disappointing 1-2 record and the entire organization felt that it was necessary to find that identity and spark they needed. It seems as the Mean Green is headed in the right direction as they took a demanding win on Wednesday.

“We brought pace, aggressiveness, communication, teamwork and hard work,” Mitchell said.

It took a slow start to find that pace and aggressiveness as UNT found themselves down 5-0 early in the first quarter. UNT was held scoreless until guard, Summer Jones, hit a three with 6:22 remaining in the quarter. The Mean Green finished with 27 points off turnovers and a strong 38 points from their bench.

Senior post Anisha George came off the bench and led all scorers with 15 points. George also hauled in 10 rebounds to finish with her third double-double of the season. She attributes the success of her team to the recent training over the past few days.

“We had three very tough, intense practices,” George said. “So, we didn’t have a choice but to get out there and get going tonight.”

Everyone that played scored at least three points showing a collaborative effort from all around. Freshman forward Destinee McDowell came close to a triple double as she finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and an impressive eight steals. The most impressive feat of the night was UNT’s second half defense holding Xavier to only nine total second half points.

“We just buckled down and stayed solid and played defense like coach taught us to,” McDowell said.

UNT has one more game to play before they head to Hawai’i for the Rainbow Wahine Showdown where they’ll face Hawai’i, Texas and 12th ranked NC State. Coach Mitchell and UNT are starting to find their identity and hopes this can be the spark they need for their three-game stint in Honolulu.

“Our job now is to be consistent and to not be a rollercoaster, be up one game and down the next,” Mitchell said. “We really need to level off to where when we show up, no matter who we play, we are our best selves and we give ourselves the best chance to succeed.”

By Darien Clark

DENTON, Texas – The North Texas Lady Eagles (2-2) soared past the Xavier women

Gold Nuggets (7-4) 68-31 last Wednesday night at the Super Pit.

After a poor performance the game before against UT Arlington, where UNT lost 68-49,

the team bounced back with a phenomenal outing.

Led by the team’s lone senior, Anisha George’s 15-point, 11-rebound double double off

the bench, the Lady Eagles had everything going there way that night. The bench itself

outscored the starters 38-30 with another impressive performance by the freshman

forward, Destinee McDowell. In 18 minutes, she put up a stat-line of 11 points, nine

rebounds, eight steals, three assists and three blocks.

While averaging 15 points and 15.7 rebounds, Anisha George is the nation’s

second-leading rebounder. She is also third in the country in offensive rebounds with

seven per contest. Her 26 rebounds in the season opener against Mid-America

Christian is still the single-game high by a player in the country this year. Her season is

only getting started, too.

UNT head coach, alumni and program all-time leading scorer has her hands full of

talent this year. Coming off of her fourth season last year where the team saw their very

first postseason win ever, she has started off the season hot and it started with the

recruiting class.

Conference USA awarded UNT Lady Eagles with the best recruiting class bringing in

four freshman who all are already playing prominent roles in this rotation.

Point guards N’Yah Boyd (Mesquite, Texas) and Jazion Jackson (Dallas, Texas) and

forward Destinee McDowell (Fort Worth, Texas) all played at least 24 minutes in their

37-point win. Only nine players remained active in the big win tonight with Callie Owens

leading the way with 31 minutes played.

The offense will be there for the Lady Eagles on a nightly basis, but it was ultimately the

defense that sealed the deal on Wednesday night. Xavier was held to nine total points

in the second-half and shot 24 percent from the field over the course of the entire game.

Xavier used 15 different ladies to try and get something going on the offensive end, but

nothing was working. Aside from their senior guard, Essence Wells who had ten points,

no player scored more than four points. Huge props to UNT’s defensive game plan.

With tonight’s win, the Lady Eagles matched their record in points allowed with 31 that

was previously set on November 11th of this year against Alcorn State.

The Lady Eagles look to start a win-streak when they travel to California State

University Bakersfield (2-3) on Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. (CST).

By Amira Wynn

DENTON, Texas- Coming off a 2-2 run this season, the UNT women’s basketball team improved to 3-2 during a Wednesday face off with Xavier University. Xavier fell to 6-5 overall.

Feeling the need to redeem themselves after a 68-49 loss by UT Arlington, the women knew they needed a convincing win before heading into the Rainbow Wahine Showdown on Nov. 29 in Hawaii.

The Mean Green entered the game 1-2 against the Gold Nuggets but were confident that they could secure a win.

“I just told the team that our job now is to be consistent,” said head coach Jalie Mitchell. “We really have to level off and show up no matter who we play. We are us and we give ourselves the best chance to succeed when that’s the case.”

The Mean Green trailed the first seven minutes of the first quarter before taking a dominant lead, finishing the half 31-22.

Carrying the momentum into the second half, the women held Xavier to just 9 points.

Freshman Destinee McDowell led the Mean Green in blocks (3) and came off the bench with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Junior Anisha George led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Both George and McDowell made a big impact in the first half to secure the early lead.

Junior Summer Jones and freshman Jazion Jackson also made a big impact throughout the game, scoring 8 points apiece. The eight points would become a season high for Jones.

While much of the win McDowell and George contribute to shutting down Xavier’s offense and staying to the game plan, Mitchell contributes it to a long, hard three days of practice.

“That’s how we should show up every day,” said Mitchell. “I’m really proud of how we responded. We had three pretty tough and productive days of practice.”

UNT outscored Xavier in the paint 38-16 and forced 27 turnovers. UNT’s bench proved their value, scoring 38 against Xavier’s 14.

“We shot [the ball] well, moved the ball well and got the looks we needed from being patient and selective in our shots.”

UNT will take to the road to take on CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, Nov. 26 before heading off to Hawai’i. Action starts at 7 p.m. (CST) and will be available on C-USA TV and ESPN+.

 

By Jasmine Robinson

North Texas women’s basketball (3-2) defeated Xavier University (7-4) 68-31 on Wednesday night. Head coach Jalie Mitchell said that her team brought pace, aggressiveness, communication, teamwork and hard work to the night’s game.

“We had three pretty tough and productive days of practice and I thought we showed it well from the field, we moved the ball well, we got the looks that we needed, we were very patient,” Mitchell said.

North Texas made strides away from Xavier in the second half. For the entire half, North Texas held Xavier to nine total points and scored 37 points.

“I thought we played for 40 minutes,” Mitchell said. “And that’s what we have to do to be successful.

Freshman forward Destinee McDowell had six points, five rebounds and four steals during the second half. For the entire game, she had 11 points, nine rebounds, eight steals and three blocks.

“We just buckled down and stayed solid and played defense like coach taught us to,” McDowell said about her second half performance.

For the first time this season, senior post player Anisha George did not start the game, which Mitchell said was a coach’s decision. George contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, making this her fourth double-double in five games this season.

“We didn’t have a choice but to get out there and get going tonight because we didn’t want another [hard practice],” George said.

Each North Texas player scored in the game. Mitchell said that team depth is critical and that it’s important for each player to show up every night the way they did against Xavier. However, the team is still without freshman guard Randi Thompson, who tweaked an ankle against Alcorn State.

Consistency remains an important point for North Texas this season. So far this season, the team has alternated wins and losses. From the start of the season, consistency has been something they are striving for in 2019-20.

“That’s our goal, to keep doing what we’re doing and play how we played tonight,” George said. “Improve on our little mistakes.”

As the team begins approaching the second half of the season, they are still searching for an identity. Mitchell said that a lack of consistency has hindered them from finding that identity.

This season, the Mean Green roster has nine new players, six of which are eligible, five being freshmen. The team lost a crop of starters that featured star player Terriel Bradley.

“I think in order for a team to be successful, you have to know who you are and what you bring to the table, what you’re good at, the things you need to improve on, and you just have to have an identity,” Mitchell said.

Coming up, North Texas will play in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Mitchell said she is hoping to be consistent throughout the three games of the trip.

“[We] really got to level off to where when we show up, no matter who we play  or who they are, we are us and we are our best selves, and we give ourselves the best chance to succeed when that’s the case,” Mitchell said.

The Mean Green’s next game is against CSU Bakersfield in Bakersfield, Calif., on Tuesday.

 

By Michael Richman

DENTON, Texas (Special) – The UNT Women’s basketball team got down to business quickly in their 68-31 routing of the Xavier (LA) Gold Rush. The 37-point victory was the largest of the season and moved UNT to 2-2 on the year. The game was tight early, as the first quarter came to a close with a 14-12 lead for UNT, but after that the score quickly continued to grow for the Mean Green. The victory came behind big days from Anisha George and Destinee McDowell who combined for 26 of the team’s points, both players came off the bench which contributed 38 points in total. “Everybody has to show up, every night, even if the ball’s not falling in the hole for you, there’s something that you can do to contribute to the team and contribute to a win. So, our high expectations are for everyone: 1-10.” said Head Coach Jalie Mitchell.

The win was a big boost for the team’s confidence as Coach Mitchell discussed having the team dedicated to intense practice over the past three days leading up the game. The team has had two disappointed outings early with a two-point loss to NAIA school, Mid America Christian University to open the season and a 19-point loss to UT Arlington in the game prior. Coach Mitchell knew the team was in search of finding out who they were and really buckling down to get focused. “We talked about really our identity and who we want to be, who we should show up as every single day. This particular team, what we bring to the table and I thought we brought those things tonight,” said Mitchell.

The Mean Green clearly outplayed the Gold Rush in all facets of the game, allowing just two second chance opportunities and holding Xavier (LA) to nine points in the second half. In terms of defense, UNT was locked in, allowing only one player to score more than four points on the night. The team also impressed with their fundamentals, limiting their turnovers and outrebounding Xavier 47-31. In the end the offensive showing was the biggest sign of encouragement to the team as they scored a season high 68 points and shot a promising 46.4% from the field. “Like Coach said, we’re still trying to find our identity, so we’re just trying to be consistent,” said post player Anisha George.

In their next outing, the Mean Green head to the Golden State to face off against Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday night who is currently 2-3 on the season. The game will be the last one before the team heads to Hawaii where they will face off against Hawaii, Texas, and #12 ranked North Carolina State over the duration of three days. “Our job now is to be consistent and not be a roller coaster… When we show up, no matter who play no matter who they are, we are us and we are our best selves, and we give ourselves the best chance to succeed when that’s the case,” said Mitchell.

-30-

Thoughts on 2019-20 College Basketball Season and the 2019 Baseball World Series – Editorials

By Nolan Fowler (Written Nov. 1)

(In full transparency, I am not a fan of NCAA basketball. I am a die-hard NBA fan. So, this mini-opinion piece will not be to preview the doubleheader on Tuesday or to predict who might win March Madness; it will be on why I don’t watch college basketball anymore.)

When the NCAA basketball season kicks off on Tuesday night, I will certainly be watching basketball. Except, it will be the Lakers-Bulls game. I don’t judge people who love the boisterous crowds and the rampant spirit that permeates college basketball games. It’s just not for me. Let me explain.

If faced with the choice to watch 18 and 19 year-olds struggle to score 70 points per game as a team (the average in 2013 for an NCAA game was 68.13 points) or watch LeBron James and Anthony Davis run savvy pick-and-rolls, I’m going to choose the latter every time. The skill level of an average player from the NBA and NCAA is not even close. Only 1.2% of NCAA basketball players make it to the NBA. That means a college basketball viewer is watching almost 99% of players who don’t possess the skill level to make it to the next level.

Also, NCAA basketball has been rife with corruption for years. Who knows what the new California law will do for the NCAA as a whole. But players are increasingly faced with better alternatives to college basketball; such as the G League’s professional path program or playing in professional leagues overseas. Not only does the alternative routes pay the players, but they also provide competition more on par with the NBA. LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, two of the top prospects in the upcoming NBA draft, chose to play in the National Basketball League in Australia instead of college. Luka Doncic personifies what playing in professional basketball overseas can do to prepare a player for NBA life.

The college basketball days of Christian Laettner, Patrick Ewing and Bill Walton are in the rearview mirror. No longer do players stay at a program for 3-4 years to form truly legendary teams. Players with a chance to be drafted in the lottery or in the first round will forego the opportunity to stay in college and join the NBA after one season, where they will be compensated immensely for their play. This one-and-done rule could be ending soon, allowing players to jump to the NBA straight from high school, a la LeBron James and Kevin Garnett.

These are all the reasons why I will be watching the Lakers-Bulls game instead of the Duke-Kansas Game.

Thoughts on the World Series:

I thought the 2019 World Series was the best one since the Cubs broke the curse in 2016. For one, the World Series went all 7 games. And as sports pundits know, there is no better term in sports than a Game 7.

 

By Kyle Johnson

Thoughts on the World Series:

The World Series has concluded and the Washington Nationals are the 2019 World Series champions. After defeating the Houston Astros, 6-2 in Game 7, the Nationals have officially stamped their mark in history bringing in their first ever World Series championship.

Not only is this the first championship win for the franchise, but also this is the first time in the history of the big three sports (MLB, NBA, NHL) that the road team has won all seven games. It’s hard to deny the Washington Nationals were the team of destiny this season. Since having the best record of baseball since May 24th, big performances from guys such as Juan Soto and Steven Strasburg, helped them seal the deal.

The intriguing aspect about this Nationals team is their mix of veterans of young, developing superstars. With veteran workhorses such as Max Scherzer and Anthony Rendon, it’s clear to see how this club was successful. However, the clutch hitting from guys such as Juan Soto, the future is still very bright in DC.

So what is next for the Houston Astros? Although they will have huge impact players such as Gerritt Cole on the free agency market, this team is still incredibly talented and has a rich farm system. Although one might question AJ Hinch’s managerial decisions in that final game of the series, he is still one of the best managers in baseball and there is no doubt that the Astros will be a contender next season. But for now it is the Nationals who are the kings of baseball.

On 2019-20 Basketball Season:

College basketball season is right around the corner and there is no doubt that there is anticipation in the air. March of 2019 certainly ended with madness as audiences saw a University of Virginia team take home a National Championship over Texas Tech. So what is in store for the 2019-2020 season?

After coming up short in Final Four, the Michigan State Spartans look to take the next step this season. Coming in with the No. 1 overall ranking, Tom Izzo and the crew look to ride their recent success with players such as Cassius Winston and Aaron Henry. It won’t be an easy venture though. The Spartans tip off their season against John Calipari and the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats at Madison Square Garden.

That isn’t the only huge match up for Tip Off Tuesday on November 5th. The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks will look to make a huge statement by taking down a new looking No. 4 Duke squad. Although there is no Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett for the Blue Devils, Coach Kryzyzewski has high anticipations for the squad this season. A win for either of these teams would make a huge statement in the college basketball landscape.

College basketball is officially back and there are many storylines to take notice of. Starting in November, which contenders and pretenders will emerge? Although it is only the start of non-conference, this is where teams can capture those big wins that can but them over the bubble come March.

By Jeremy Beadling

Thoughts on the World Series

This World Series was one for the record books as this was the first professional sports series that saw the road team win every single game. Along with that stat the Washington Nationals, who ended up winning their first world series in franchise history, were a huge underdog against the star studded Houston Astros.

With the two leading candidates for the AL Cy-Young race, Gerrit Cole and  Justin Verlander, many expected the Astros to impose their will on the Nationals who started the season with a lackluster 19-31 record in their first 50 games. The Nationals put up quite the fight though behind Anthony Rendon and emerging superstar Juan Soto. Both of whom had key hits and RBI’s in Game 6 and 7.

The Nationals also relied on their two aces, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, who were the starting pitchers in all four of the Nationals wins. The Nationals played smart baseball by trying to advance runners using SAC bunts and smart base running. The Astros on the other hand left way to many runners on base posing the third weakest hitting percentage with runners in scoring position since 1969 according to MLB network.

It was a storybook ending for nationals fans and a nightmare for the folks back in Houston but with a lot of movement set for this MLB offseason these two teams could look very different this offseason with each teams biggest names entering free agency with Gerrit Cole for the Astros set to cash in and Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg looking for blockbuster deals as well the Nationals and Astros can only hope to retain these premier talents to make a run towards the 2020 World Series.

World Series Opinion by Marcus Carr

FRISCO, Texas — 95 years in the making, the Washington Nationals won their first World

Series since the Senators won their title in 1924 taking down the Houston Astros in game

seven.

The Nationals didn’t only defy all the odds in this miraculous World Series win, they overcame

them throughout the whole postseason when their back was against the wall. Washington

trailed in all five elimination games in the playoffs and came back to win which no other team in

baseball history had ever done until Wednesday.

To describe their miracle playoff run even further, no team had ever trailed by two or more runs

after the seventh inning in the playoffs and came back to win except, the Washington Nationals

who did it three times in a row.

Standing between the Nats and the title was the 107 win Houston Astros, who were the best

team in baseball throughout the season led by a juggernaut pitching staff. The Bryce

Harper-less batting lineup for the Nats didn’t flinch one bit not even being down in game seven.

Anthony Rendon hit a homerun off Zack Greinke to give Washington life. In the ninth, ageless

Howie Kendrick fired a line drive to right field that bounced off the foul pole giving the Nationals

a 3-2 lead.

This didn’t seem possible in May, the Nationals looked doomed with the absence of star, Bryce

Harper who left in the off season, the team fell to 19-31 just 50 games into the season. No team

in baseball history has won a World Series when having a below .400 win percentage at that

stage of the season. The door seemed to be closed on Washington, this team hadn’t won a

playoff series since moving to the city.

That was all wiped away on October 30, 2019. The capital of the United States can celebrate

now, the Washington Nationals won the World Series.

 

College Basketball Thoughts by Marcus Carr

FRISCO, Texas — The 2019-2020 college basketball season looms upon us with the

season beginning next Tuesday with the top teams playing at Madison Square

Garden. No. 4 Duke will take on No. 3 Kansas followed by No. 2 Kentucky facing No.

1 Michigan State.

The Blue Devils come into the season ranked as the fourth best team in college

basketball led by freshman Matthew Hurt, Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore, Cassius

Stanley and returning guard, Tre Jones. With Zion Williamson no longer in the mix,

Duke will need to figure out where their scoring will come from as this team doesn’t

have a primary scorer. Despite not having a potent scorer, their length on the

defensive is going to cause problems for opposing offenses. Coach Mike Krzyzewski

will be tasked on the decision to run a zone defense instead of their typical man to

man defense but with the length and athleticism they can force teams into low

scoring affairs.

Kansas has been plagued with injuries the last three seasons with Devon Dotson

and Udoka Azubuike but look to be a legitimate Final Four contender. Kansas

comes into the season chasing their 14th conference title. Losing most of their

score from last season they will rely on a team that will need to rise as an offensive

team who can stretch the floor. With only one recruit inside the ESPN top 100, Jalen

Wilson, the Jayhawks will have their hands full this season and their off the court

issues don’t help their case.

On the late slate, the Kentucky Wildcats roll out an intriguing team this season but

only have one returning starter in, Ashton Hagans. The Wildcats bring in three

five-star freshmen, Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks who will look to

boost the teams offense this season. There’s a case that Calipari’s team could be a

top 10 defense this season. If the defense can hold its ground they could find

themselves in the Final Four.

Michigan State is projected to the No. 1 team heading into the season, and are led

by senior Cassius Winston who helped them reach the Elite Eight last season.

Winston will be tasked to be the primary scorer for the Spartans offense again this

year. Tom Izzo’s Spartans come into the season banged up and will be without

Joshua Langford. While they are projected to be the best team in college basketball

it doesn’t seem like a lock for Michigan State as no college across the country looks

like a surefire dominant team.

-30-

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