A new era for the North Carolina women’s basketball team looks ready to unfold.
Sure, some of the same key players are back, but the Tar Heels are evolving this season into a squad that can impose itself on the opponent. You could already start to see a transformation being made as the team thumped Mount Olive, 102-47, during an exhibition game on Monday.
“It makes a huge difference having some more size in there, it really does,” head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “Last year, they’d just lock us up outside and it was hard because our perimeter kids were always guarded. Now, with inside they’re having to give attention in there.”
In the new season, the team is still relatively inexperienced. With 6-foot-4 first-year center Janelle Bailey and 6-foot-2 first-year forward Jaelynn Murray plugged into the lineup, the Tar Heels are learning on the fly, but they now have enough strength and height to pull down more rebounds on both ends of the floor.
An inside presence is something the Tar Heels haven’t had for several years now. Last year, the team only had senior Hillary Fuller to fill that role. Once she was out to injury, they didn’t have anyone who really had the size to contribute to the rebounding column, an essential part of creating offensive points and taking away opportunities defensively.