The North Carolina women’s basketball team will play 29 games for the 2021-2022 regular season.
Here’s the most notable aspects of the schedule:
- The season will open on Nov. 9 at home against North Carolina A&T.
- The Tar Heels will then play nine more non-conference games, including home games against Appalachian State, James Madison, UNC Asheville and Jacksonville.
- On Thanksgiving weekend, the Tar Heels will travel to Bimini in the Bahamas to play in the Goombay Splash against VCU and Washington.
- UNC will then play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Minnesota on Dec. 1.
North Carolina will begin conference play on Dec. 19 at Boston College. Their first home conference game is on Dec. 30 against Syracuse.
Based on AP’s top 25 preseason rankings, UNC has a handful of ranked opponents on their schedule, most notably two matchups against No. 5 N.C. State. The teams play in Raleigh on Jan. 6 and at home on Jan. 30.
Last year, the Wolfpack finished with a 22-3 record, though it dropped a game to the Tar Heels 76-69. Their high-powered offense ranked first in the ACC with 77.2 points per game, led by Elissa Cunane, who averaged 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.
N.C. State also shot from behind the arc exceptionally well, ranking first in the ACC at 36.7 percent. Its top three-point shooter, Jakia Brown-Turner, finished second on the team in scoring behind Cunane with 13.5 points per game. Brown-Turner also shot at a 37.0 percent clip from downtown. Expect the versatile scoring combination of Brown-Turner and Cunane to challenge the Tar Heels’ defensive spacing.
Additionally, the Tar Heels will play seven more home conference games, against Clemson on Jan. 2, No. 24 Virginia Tech on Jan. 9, Virginia on Jan. 20, Miami on Feb. 6, Pittsburgh on Feb. 10 and No. 6 Louisville on Feb. 17.
Louisville has not lost to UNC since March 29, 2008. The Cardinals went 26-4 last season, finishing first in the ACC. Even though they lost star guard Dana Evans to the WNBA, the Cardinals have plenty of other weapons. When the teams met last year, Louisville had six players score in the double-digits, exemplifying their dynamic offense.
Notable Cardinals for this matchup include sophomores Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran. Both players made the ACC All-Freshman team, with Cochran averaging 9.9 points and Van Lith averaging 11.2 points.
Van Lith is an outstanding three-point shooter, converting 38.3 percent of her treys and making 49 for the season. Cochran led the team with 6.9 rebounds per game.
North Carolina’s schedule features seven more conference games on the road, against Notre Dame on Jan. 16, No. 18 Georgia Tech on Jan. 23, Duke on Jan. 27, Wake Forest on Feb. 3, Virginia Tech on Feb. 13, No. 16 Florida State on Feb. 20 and Virginia on Feb. 24.
UNC will close out its schedule in a Senior Day matchup against Duke on Feb. 27. The two teams haven’t met since March 1, 2020, as Duke cancelled their 2020-2021 season due to COVID-19 concerns. The Tar Heels have not defeated the Blue Devils since Jan. 21, 2018, in a 92-86 overtime thriller.
Key Blue Devils to watch out for in this rivalry matchup are senior forward Elizabeth Balogun and junior guard Celeste Taylor. Balogun is a Louisville transfer and ranked third in the ACC with 43 blocks, helping Louisville to an NCAA Elite Eight Appearance.
After playing two seasons at Texas, Taylor transferred to Duke this year. She helped lead the Longhorns to an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2021, averaging 12.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.1 steals.
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