Carlie Littlefield, the 2021-2022 UNC women’s basketball starting point guard, is finding a silver lining next year in Belgium.
The North Carolina women’s basketball program announced on Saturday that Littlefield signed a contract with the Liège Panthers. She will begin competing with the Panthers in the Belgium League in September while completing her Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA through online coursework.
"The Liège Panthers just got one of the best true point guards in the country,” said head coach Courtney Banghart in UNC’s press release on Saturday.
This wasn’t always the plan for Littlefield, who anticipated returning to action for the Tar Heels before the NCAA ruled against her waiver request for an extra year of COVID-19 eligibility.
Banghart called Littlefield on the night of April 13 to inform her of the news.
“Immediately I got that pit in my stomach because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be done with college basketball or not, so that was the moment I knew that college basketball had run its course with me,” Littlefield said. “So my mind immediately went to the team and how I would never get to play with them again.”
Despite the disappointing result of her waiver request, Littlefield knew that “this was happening for a reason,” and shifted her focus towards finding the “silver lining” of the situation.
Littlefield is continuing to train in Chapel Hill with the UNC team this summer and is also competing in the 3x3 professional women’s basketball league as part of the Chicago Force 10. Alongside Alexus Dye, Natalie Kucowski and Delicia Washington, Littlefield is taking part in tournaments over the course of five weekends this summer.
Through the 3x3 league, Littlefield reconnected with Blake Dietrick, another former Princeton Tiger who reached out in May to recommend the league to Littlefield.