#First44 Day 18: North Texas Adds Kelsey Criner
Mitchell Welcomes Guard From New Mexico JC
Mitchell was named head coach of the North Texas women's basketball team on April 9, 2015. Between moving back to Denton, getting to know the team and beginning to operate the Mean Green program, Mitchell will be very busy early on in her tenure. We want to give fans an in-depth look at her #First44 days on the job in the form of a 44-part series that will run from April 10-May 23.
On Monday, Jalie Mitchell announced that 5-7 guard Kelsey Criner will transfer to North Texas from New Mexico Junior College. She will be eligible to play for the Mean Green next season as a junior.
"Kelsey is a great pickup for this program; we are very lucky that she was still available," Mitchell said. "She comes from quality high school and junior college programs that have pushed her both athletically and academically."
The Dallas native was second on the Thunderbirds with 12.2 points and 3.4 assists per contest, and was 16th in NJCAA Division I with 99 total steals. Criner scored in double figures in 27 of her 33 games played, including a career-high 23-point effort in a 71-66 victory at Weatherford College on November 25. Most of her damage came in the tough areas, as she shot 53-percent inside the arc and went 92-135 (68.1-percent) from the foul line.
Coming out of Lincoln High School in 2013, Criner was given an 88 overall scouting grade by ESPN.com. She was ranked No. 19 in the state of Texas, No. 33 regionally and No. 71 nationally at her position of shooting guard. Two years later, Mitchell is glad to bring Criner back home and have her as a part of the team for the next two seasons.
"Kelsey is a fiery competitor who has competed at the highest level and knows what it takes to win," Mitchell continued. "She strives for perfection every time she steps on the court. Her confidence, defensive intensity and overall ability to control the tempo of the game allows her to set the tone on both ends of the floor."
Criner is a combo guard who is expected to make an immediate impact this season. With the ability to play point guard and shooting guard, she will be an asset for the Mean Green.