One of the longest-standing rivalries in Dallas-Fort Worth college basketball is taking at least a one-year hiatus.
The North Texas and SMU women’s basketball teams will not play this fall, pausing an annual series that dates back to both programs’ debut campaigns in 1976-77. The teams have faced off at least once each season for the last 43 years.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t want to play this year,” UNT coach Jalie Mitchell said. “They opted out of this year and want to pick it up again next year.”
UNT released its nonconference schedule this week.
SMU leads the series 32-18 after winning last season’s game 73-66 at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.
UNT added a game against Texas-Arlington to fill the void in its schedule. The Mean Green’s home game against UTA is one of the highlights of a nonconference slate that also includes three games in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Hawaii in late November.
UNT’s series against SMU has included several memorable games through the years, including a 60-57 Mean Green win in Mitchell’s first season as head coach in 2015-16.
UNT won the first game between the teams 56-54 in 1977. SMU broke through for a 67-66 win over the Mean Green in the opening game of the 1979-80 season.
Mitchell played for UNT from 1998-2002 and went 2-3 against SMU on her way to becoming the Mean Green’s all-time leading scorer with 1,764 points. The UNT Athletics Hall of Famer is hoping to see the series resume.
“It’s absolutely a good game for both teams,” Mitchell said. “It’s a natural rival. We recruit against each other. You always want to be the best program in the Metroplex.”
UNT adds guard, loses veteran
Mitchell announced Tuesday that Seminole State College guard Summer Jones has signed with UNT.
Jones averaged 13.4 points and 2.2 rebounds as a sophomore last season, when she shot 40.5% from 3-point range.
“Summer puts the ball in the hole,” Mitchell said. “She proves it every game out, plus she brings experience coming from junior college. That will benefit what will be a young team this year.”
The 5-8 guard will help UNT fill the void left when it lost three of its top four 3-point shooters from last season. Terriell Bradley graduated after hitting 53 shots from behind the arc on her way to leading the team with an average of 15.8 points per game.
Fellow guard Callie Owens is set to return after hitting 32 shots from 3-point range. Grace Goodhart, UNT’s third-leading scorer at 6.2 points per game, made 31 shots from beyond the arc in her senior season.
Velma Mitchell connected on 23 shots from beyond the arc but will not return after undergoing career-ending foot surgery. She averaged 4.8 points last season.
“Summer will take that spot,” Jalie Mitchell said. “She has similar experience to Velma and will play a similar role.”
Jones is the latest addition to what will be a largely revamped roster. UNT landed six high school players during the early signing period in November. Jones is the third transfer UNT has added to that original signing class.
Forward Rochelle Lee and guard Quincy Noble transferred from Chattanooga and New Mexico, respectively, and will sit out the upcoming season.