You are forgiven if you do not know too much about the NT women’s basketball team. For the least decade or more, the women’s team has been poor. Jalie Mitchell has changed all that and this team here, while flawed — 11th seed! — is fun and has the pieces.
The guard play is good and tough. Brittany Smith and Trena Mims can handle the rock and get to the cup and finish even with tougher, taller women bumping them. Grace Goodheart is a shooter but can put the ball on the floor and pull up for midrange buckets.
Micayla Buckner, ‘the rock’ as Jalie Mitchell called her, can bang inside and finish around the rim. She also did as good a job on Tech’s Alexus Malone as possible, making things tough for the Lady Techster.
Of course, Terriell Bradley can light it up from anywhere.
Western is super tough. These two met in Denton and saw WKU win by 14 going away. Ivy Brown is averaging 16 a game and had a great one in the blowout against UTSA.
NT is the miracle team of the tournament right now, and a good portion of that has been the support of the crowd. The wisdom of choosing the Ford Center as the tournament location was questioned by most Eastern teams, but the value in having both the men’s and women’s tournaments in the same venue has been tremendous.
Tonight, the script flips, and the women get to play in prime time after having to endure 11am tips the last couple of days. North Texas has benefitted from playing at the more ideal 2pm slot, but will have to adjust to the late start but will likely find that ideal.
Mitchell expected her girls might have had tired legs in the Tech game, but they came out with energy and passion. Having one of the largest crowds they have seen all season might give them more of the same.
We will not kid you and pretend to know much about WKU’s squad, but know this: They are good, they have good players, and are very deserving of the second seed they occupy at the moment.