Jalie Mitchell for poll

North Texas head coach Jalie Mitchell celebrates after her team scores during a game at The Ford Center. UNT was picked to finish eighth in Conference USA this season in the league's preseason coaches' poll.

The North Texas women’s basketball team has been picked to finish eighth in Conference USA this season in the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll.

The Mean Green finished in a tie for 11th last season with Louisiana Tech. UNT posted a 12-19 overall record and went 6-12 in conference play.

UNT did not have a player selected to the preseason all-conference team.

Middle Tennessee was picked to win the C-USA title after receiving eight of the 14 first-place votes in the poll. Rice and Old Dominion each received three votes.

UNT lost Anisha George, its leading scorer and rebounder from last season, but returns the rest of its key players. The Mean Green relied on several freshmen during an injury-plagued season.

UNT is hoping those players will benefit from the experience they gained last season and help the Mean Green get back on track under coach Jalie Mitchell. The UNT Hall of Fame player led UNT to consecutive winning seasons before the program took a step back last year.

Forward Destinee McDowell averaged 11.1 points per game before her freshman campaign was cut short after 14 games due to injury. Point guard N’Yah Boyd (9.4 points per game) and shooting guard Randi Thompson (7.4 points per game) were also key contributors as freshmen.

Mitchell revamped her staff in the offseason, hiring former Texas assistants Jamie Carey and Kelby Jones in addition to former Eastern New Mexico assistant Durmon Jennings.

UNT is set to open its season with a home game against Texas A&M-Texarkana on Nov. 25.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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