The North Carolina women’s basketball team held its first full practice of the season under new head coach Courtney Banghart on Thursday.
Banghart takes over the program following the exit of Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell, who resigned amid an investigation into alleged racist remarks. But Banghart, the former head coach at Princeton, has an impressive résumé of her own.
She was named the Naismith National Coach of the Year in 2015, leading the Tigers to a 30-0 regular season record. With the most wins in school history, she finished her 12-year career at Princeton with a 254-103 record, seven Ivy League conference titles and NCAA tournament bids in eight of the past 10 years.
The new coach made her impact right away, pushing the team hard all throughout practice.
“They were challenged today,” Banghart said. “They’re physically exhausted. We’ve done a lot of conditioning this week.”
Banghart also introduced the team to several new defensive schemes that she plans to use to shore up a UNC defense that was ranked second-to-last in the ACC last season in points allowed.
Last year, the Tar Heel's strength was their offense as they averaged 74.9 points per game, good for fourth in the conference.
While the loss of Paris Kea hurts, the team will have plenty of new faces to make up for the lost production. Redshirt senior Madinah Muhammad, who sat out last season after transferring from Ole Miss, is a talented scorer, averaging 16.8 points per game during 2018-2019.
North Carolina also returns senior Taylor Koenen, who was named a captain for the upcoming season. After meeting with every player individually, Banghart decided that Koenen was deserving of the role.