Stock Up, Stock Down: UNT is on the rise

Photo by UNT Athletics

Welcome back to Stock Up, Stock Down, your weekly look around what's good and not so good in the women's basketball in the state of Texas.

We're inching closer to conference play — when it'll be a little easier to judge all of these teams — but got a past and future conference game on Sunday, as former Big 12 rivals and future SEC rivals Texas and Texas A&M faced off in Gary Blair's final game against the Horns.

Stock Up: North Texas

The Mean Green have won three in a row, including just absolutely dominating rival SMU on Friday, beating the Mustangs 84-58.

Aly Gamez had 21 points in that one, in large part because SMU couldn't stop fouling her, as she went a perfect 13-for-13 from the stripe.

A six-point loss on the road to a good Missouri State team and a one-point home loss to UT Arlington are the two things that have marred this team's schedule so far, but the Mean Green are beating the teams that they should beat and are doing it soundly.

The NCAA's NET rankings are out, and UNT is 61st, which puts it second in Conference USA behind Middle Tennessee. The Mean Green are above programs like Washington State, South Dakota, and South Dakota state.

Jalie Mitchell's got something in Denton. Quincy Noble is averaging 16.3 points per game, and the entire UNT rotation is shooting over 40 percent from the field. And that isn't an exaggeration — Emma Villas-Gonis is playing 10 minutes per game and is shooting 33.3 percent. Everyone playing more than her is at over 40 percent.

Stock Up: Texas

 Speaking of the NCAA's NET rankings, Texas is fourth in those, behind only South Carolina, North Carolina, and NC State. (Good year for the Carolinas!)

Beyond that, Texas just beat Texas A&M — previously undefeated Texas A&M — and hardly broke a sweat doing so.

The Horns went up around 10 early, maintained that lead most of the game, and pulled away late. I'll be honest that it wasn't a compelling watch: Texas A&M kept it close enough that you couldn't put a different game on, but the Aggies never truly threatened Texas.

According to Her Hoop Stats, the Longhorns have 13th in points allowed per 100 possessions, which is especially impressive because Vic Schaefer's team has played Stanford, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, all ranked foes.

In the A&M win, Aliyah Matharu scored 26 points, while Rori Harmon added 18. This team still isn't at full health either, yet it's looking like a team that can win the Big 12.

Stock Down: Texas A&M

The Aggies have a problem and it's called "we don't have enough bigs."

The four players who were on the floor for the most minutes against Texas — Jordan Nixon, Destiny Pitts, Kayla Wells, and Qadashah Hoppie — are all guards/wings. A&M's best lineup is four guards and a big, and coming into that Texas game, it was working.

But A&M hadn't faced a defense like Texas yet. The Aggies had 19 turnovers. Hoppie was 0-for-1 from the floor. The size and strength of Texas was too much for A&M.

Maybe A&M needs to try some more lineups where Aaliyah Patty and Sydnee Roby share the floor. They've played 35 minutes together this season, and A&M has a +45.5 net rating in those minutes.

Against Texas, the Aggies started those two together and played the first 3.5 minutes with them, with a net points per possession of +0.92 during that time. But the two didn't share the floor at all in the second half.

I did think Gary Blair going with Sahara Jones as essentially the big-guard four at times was interesting, though. If you're going to play guard-heavy, Jones has some intriguing length to make that work.'

Stock Up: Kim Mulkey at LSU

Quick non-Texas aside here, it looks like former Baylor coach Kim Mulkey has her new LSU team going in the right direction. The Tigers are 6-foot-1 and just beat Iowa State by nine. The team has a very winnable schedule ahead of it. Mark your calendars for December 21st, when LSU takes on Texas Tech. (On FloHoops, of course...)

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