With nine top-25 matchups on the horizon, the No. 12 North Carolina women’s basketball team will certainly face its fair share of quality competition this season.
From trekking to Indiana’s raucous Assembly Hall to facing a loaded Louisville team looking to avenge a loss from last season, head coach Courtney Banghart and her core of juniors are set to face perhaps their toughest slate of opponents yet.
With the season soon set to begin, the team is set to partake in a number of marquee games.
The first game of the season is on Nov. 9 at home against Jackson State. Then, the Tar Heels will play TCU, South Carolina State and James Madison before facing No. 20 Oregon for the Phil Knight Invitational in Oregon on Thanksgiving.
After a brief hiatus, North Carolina will head to Bloomington to take on No. 11 Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 1.
Following home matchups against UNCW, Wofford and South Carolina Upstate, the Tar Heels finish up their non-conference slate in Charlotte in the Jumpman Invitational against Michigan on Dec. 20.
From there, the competition increases in both difficulty and frequency as ACC play begins. UNC plays Florida State at home on Dec. 29. A few days later, North Carolina will travel to Blacksburg to face No. 13 Virginia Tech.
The Hokies eliminated UNC from the ACC Tournament last year in an overtime thriller, although Virginia Tech hardly received any minutes from ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley. Although last season’s top 3-point shooting team in the ACC won’t return leading sharpshooter Aisha Sheppard, UNC will have to prevent capable shooters Georgia Amoore and Cayla King from heating up.
After a quick trip down to Miami on Jan. 5, North Carolina’s next ranked conference matchup is against No. 9 Notre Dame at home on Jan. 8. The Tar Heels narrowly lost to the Fighting Irish last season in South Bend, when Notre Dame guard Dara Mabrey torched UNC for 24 points and shot 6-13 from downtown.