Loryn Goodwin was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year on Wednesday, when North Texas had multiple players named to the all-league team for the first time in seven years.
Goodwin and fellow freshman Alexis Hyder were named to the third team.
Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell was named second-team all-conference and was the only player from the UNT men’s team to be selected.
The UNT men’s and women’s teams will open the Sun Belt tournaments Friday with first-round games against Louisiana-Lafayette. The women’s game will be played at 2:30 p.m., with the men’s game to follow at 6:30 p.m.
“Tony is one of the elite players in our league,” UNT coach Tony Benford said. “With the injuries we had to our perimeter players so early on this year, I don’t think everyone got the chance to see what Tony can do because teams were able to sag their defense in on him. On the defensive end of the floor, Tony leads the league in blocks and changes the way teams operate, and I think he’s the best defender in the Sun Belt.”
Mitchell, who was the Sun Belt’s Preseason Player of the Year, averaged 13.1 points and ranked fourth in the league with an average of 8.4 rebounds a game. He blocked 83 shots — more than three teams posted on the season.
Goodwin averaged 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds and set a school record with 64 3-pointers. The offensive prowess the former Houston Cypress Falls standout displayed while finishing 11th in the league in scoring overshadowed her contributions on the defensive end of the floor.
Goodwin led the Sun Belt with 83 steals. No other player in the league finished with more than 72 in the regular season.
Hyder also made a big impact at UNT as a freshman while averaging 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Hyder ranks third in the league in rebounding and ninth in scoring.
The UNT women’s team last had multiple players named to the All-Sun Belt team in 2006, when Erika Bobo was a second-team pick and Mia Ajekwu was a third-team selection.
The pair led UNT to a 19-9 finish and the Sun Belt West Division title.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE TEAM
Player of the Year — Augustine Rubit, South Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year — Bruce Massey, Middle Tennessee
Freshman of the Year — Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette
Coach of the Year — Kermit Davis, Middle Tennessee
First team — Greg Gantt, Florida Atlantic, Sr., G; Tymell Murphy, Florida International, Jr., F; Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette, So., G; Marcos Knight, Middle Tennessee, Sr., G; Augustine Rubit, South Alabama, Jr., F
Second team — Brandon Peterson, Arkansas State, Sr., F; Stefan Moody, Florida Atlantic, Fr., G; Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette, Fr., F; Tony Mitchell, North Texas, So., F; T.J. Price, Western Kentucky, So., G
Third team — Will Neighbour, Arkansas-Little Rock, Jr., F; Trey Finn, Arkansas State, Sr., G; Raymond Cintron, Middle Tennessee, Sr., G; Bruce Massey, Middle Tennessee, Sr., G; George Fant, Western Kentucky, So., F
Player of the Year — Jerica Coley, Florida International, Jr., G
Defensive Player of the Year — Chastity Gooch, W. Kentucky, So., F
Freshman of the Year — Loryn Goodwin, North Texas, G
Coach of the Year — Michelle Clark-Heard, Western Kentucky
First team — Jerica Coley, Florida International, Jr., G; Kortni Jones, Middle Tennessee, Sr., G; Ebony Rowe, Middle Tennessee, Jr., F; Chastity Gooch, Western Kentucky, So., F; Alexis Govan, Western Kentucky, So., G
Second team — Taylor Ford, Arkansas-Little Rock, Jr., G; Jane Morrill, Arkansas State, Jr., F; Chenise Miller, Florida Atlantic, Jr., F; Icelyn Elie, Middle Tennessee, Sr., F; Joanna Harden, Troy, Jr., G
Third team — Marita Davydova, Florida International, Jr., C; Ashleigh Simmons, Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., F; Loryn Goodwin, North Texas, Fr., G; Alexis Hyder, North Texas, Fr., F; Mary Nixon, South Alabama, Sr., G