UNC women's basketball head coach Courtney Banghart’s motion offense empowers any player to attack mismatches. Everyone is expected to move the ball and anyone can drive from the perimeter, draw help and kick the ball out to the open woman.
The key to the offense last year, Carlie Littlefield, is gone after not receiving an extra year of COVID eligibility. A graduate transfer who played three seasons at Princeton before rejoining Banghart in Chapel Hill, Littlefield was a tempo-setter, able to buffer against shooting slumps with patient decision-making.
Littlefield's replacement can come from several sources. Two returners stand out: junior guard Deja Kelly and redshirt senior guard Eva Hodgson. Kelly and Hodgson won’t be alone in replacing Littlefield. Anyone can create advantages and shots off the dribble in Banghart’s offense.
Kelly led the team with 16.5 points per game last season and is expected to be the team’s primary ball handler this year. Kelly was recently named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list, an honor that awards the top point guard in women's college basketball.
Though not a traditional facilitator like Littlefield, Kelly regularly beats defenders off the dribble and is a triple-threat attacker from the paint, mid-range and deep. UNC will look to Kelly to create shots for herself off the pick-and-roll.
She made leaps in her shooting ability from her first to second year with the team, and has solidified herself as one of the team's biggest threats from behind the arc.
A spark-plug who Banghart called the "sixth starter" of last season's team, Hodgson may land a true starting role this year.