Coming off redshirt years last season, three transfers for women’s basketball are eager to compete in games with the team for the first time this season. Women’s basketball added four transfers to their squad leading up to the 2019-20 season, three of whom redshirted last year due to NCAA rules, including junior forward Rochelle Lee, sophomore guard Quincy Noble and junior guard Destiny Brooks.
In deciding where to transfer, each of the three players’ common motivators was wanting to be closer to family. Lee, who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, spent her first two seasons of college basketball at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She said transferring to North Texas was partially motivated by her mother moving to Texas.
“It just came down to me wanting to be close to my mother,” Lee said. “I wanted to be closer to her, and I kind of just wanted to be in a different program and system because the coach that recruited me, he left, and two of the assistant coaches left, so it was kind of just a whole new […] program.”
Women’s basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell said she was struck by Lee’s versatility on the court and personality during the recruiting process. Mitchell said Lee’s height — she’s listed at 6-foot-3 — allows her to impact the game in the post and as a rebounder and defender.
“Her defensive presence is really gonna help us as far as changing shots, blocking shots,” Mitchell said. “She has the length and rebounding ability, and I think her being in better shape as a player is going to help her even more.”
Noble’s decision to transfer to North Texas was similarly motivated by being closer to family. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game as a senior at McKinney High School and was the No. 28-ranked guard in her class, according to ESPN.
After spending her freshman season at the University of New Mexico, Noble made a bit of a homecoming in transferring to North Texas in 2019, with Denton being about a 45-minute drive from her hometown in McKinney.
Noble said that not playing much as a freshman at New Mexico motivated her to become a more well-rounded player in her redshirt year. She also said, while the redshirt season was difficult, sharing the experience with Brooks and Lee helped them all work through it together.
“Us all sitting out, really going through the same things, helped us come together and get through [the redshirt year] together,” Noble said. “It’s not easy. Sitting out a whole season […] you’re basically going through all the same things your teammates are, minus the playing, the fun part.”
Mitchell said Noble is a multi-faceted scorer, as well as a solid defender and rebounder as a 5-foot-10 guard, but said her leadership and work ethic are what separates her as a player.
“[Quincy] is a great teammate,” Mitchell said. “She brings great energy in the room with her, she’s a worker, she’s one of those that is easy to follow. She’s very selfless but she wants to be great, so that means contributing in a lot of different ways […] I think she has the right view of what an all-around great player needs to be and she works toward that every day.”
Like Noble, Brooks is also originally from Texas and decided to transfer to North Texas to be closer to home and her family. She grew up in Gilmer, Texas, and averaged 17 points and five steals per game her senior year at Gilmer High School before going to Cal State University-Northridge for her first two seasons of college hoops and ultimately transferring to North Texas for the 2019-20 season.
“I reached out to every single school in Texas, just asking for the opportunity to play,” Brooks said. “I knew that I wanted to come back home and play in front of my family and friends, so that part was easy, it was just which school would give me the opportunity to do that. […] Coach Mitchell reached out to my head coach and said I could play here, and then it went from there.”
As a freshman at Cal State, the 5-foot-6 guard reached the 2018 NCAA tournament and scored 24 points — including eight 3-pointers — in the team’s opening-round loss to the eventual tournament winner, Notre Dame. Mitchell said Brooks’ big-game experience, 3-point shooting ability and leadership are her biggest assets to the team.
“I think she’s able to show up and actually do,” Mitchell said. “She has that leadership ability, she’s that person they can look up to or follow. That’s important for any team. You need those fearless leaders, those energy givers, and she’s definitely that.”
Mitchell said the redshirt year was challenging for all three players, but they stuck with it and made the team better in practice. Each of the three players said the team’s goal is to win a conference title this season, and Mitchell said she looks forward to seeing them get to work toward that goal on the court after their year of waiting to play.
“[I] definitely see them playing a big role,” Mitchell said. “You never know at what point in time it’s going to click for everybody as a team, or when we’re gonna get to that point where we say ‘this is it, we’re there, we’re the best we can be, we’re playing our best basketball right now.’ You don’t know when that’s going to be, but I definitely know once we get there, this team is gonna be tough.”
Courtesy Mean Green Sports