The women’s basketball team’s shift in its offensive production from last season to now puts themselves in a position to make a postseason run in the Conference USA tournament on the likes of sophomore guards N’Yah Boyd and Quincy Noble.
Through 12 conference games, the Mean Green (12-5, C-USA 9-2) sit in second place in the C-USA West division with four games remaining. Boyd in her second year as a starter is fourth in C-USA in assists-per-turnover ratio at 1.68. The Mesquite, Texas native is also ranked No. 10 in the conference in steals at 1.47 steals per game, ranked No. 10 in free throw percentage at 68.8 percent and No. 12 in assists at 3.65 assists per game.
Noble as a newcomer through offensive categories among C-USA competition is fifth in points per game at 18.0, second in 3-pointers made (50) and 3-point shooting percentage (38.5 percent), fifth in free throw percentage (75.9 percent) and plays the twelfth most minutes per game in the conference (33.85 minutes played).
“The way everything worked out for [Noble] last year having to redshirt was a perfect storm because she was stretched as a player,” Head coach Jalie Mitchell said. “Her mindset grew by taking in how the team played and knowing where she needed to improve. [Boyd] played a lot of minutes last year as a freshman and did well enough to earn her spot. Now that we’ve got everyone together who played well last season with the ones who redshirted it’s been a good year.”
Noble sat out during the 2019-2020 season as a redshirt transferring in from the University of New Mexico-Lobos. Boyd played in all 31 games for North Texas and started in 19 games, scoring over 10 points in nine conference games.
“Game experience is something very invaluable,” Assistant coach Jamie Carey said. “Within the guard position [Boyd] got a lot of experience as a freshman and has played with comfort and confidence lately down the stretch.”
Before starting conference play in 2020-2021, North Texas was 3-2 in its non-conference games with wins over Tarleton State University 87-71, University of Louisiana-Lafayette 83-74 and the University of Texas-Arlington 74-56.
Boyd and Noble have led the scoring efforts in most of North Texas’ games in their sophomore campaigns leading North Texas to a 5-0 record in conference play for the first time in program history.
“Last year we were a part of so many close games that didn’t fall our way but you use that as motivation to get better and perform better,” Boyd said. “That’s something I think everyone got better with as time went on last year and understanding it during practices in the offseason.”
In nine of the 17 games played this season, Boyd and Noble combined for 30 points or more. During conference play the duo combined for 30 points or more in both two-game sets against the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the University of Texas-San Antonio and the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as their 67-59 win over the University of Texas-El Paso on Jan. 15.
Sophomore guard Jazion Jackson plays a pivotal role in the offense alongside Boyd and Noble as she is second on the team in assists averaging 2.8 assists per game and utilizes ball movement within the offense.
“Having someone like [Noble] play next to you, she makes you a better player,” Sophomore guard Jazion Jackson said. “If she is on, she’s on, and it becomes her game when she gets hot. Everyone becomes aware if the situation calls for it to there’s a good chance she’ll score if the ball is in her hands.”
As young players Mitchell trusts Boyd and Noble to take most of the shots should either one have the hot hand. On the other hand, the two guards also have trust in fellow players to score as well.
“It feels good knowing that [Mitchell] trusts me shooting the ball but I can still depend on [Boyd] and our other guards who are strong shooters as well,” Noble said. “That’s one thing that really helps is we have trust in each other to shoot if someone is open and to get good ball movement.
Featured Images by Zachary Thomas