Coming off a shocking double-digit upset to Virginia last Sunday and a loss to No. 5 N.C. State on Thursday night, the Tar Heels are looking for a major rebound to get back on track against another ACC opponent.
The No. 24 North Carolina women’s basketball team (15-7, 6-3) will take on No. 17 Virginia Tech (17-4, 8-2) on Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena, hoping to get back in the win column.
Virginia Tech beat UNC in its last matchup last season in a nail-biter at the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. North Carolina is looking to change the outcome this season. Currently, these two squads are in the top half of the ACC rankings, but UNC has dropped due to recent ACC struggles. This game will prove to be an important top-25 matchup as seeding for the postseason looms close. However, it will be hard to stop the momentum of Virginia Tech, who is coming into this game on a four-game winning streak, all coming from wins against ACC opponents.
Here are two keys for UNC if they hope to win on Sunday and start the last month of regular season play strong:
UNC needs to rebound better
The Tar Heels will need to get more rebounds against the Hokies if they want to keep this game close. UNC is averaging 39.5 per game this season, but failed to get within eight of that mark against Miami and Virginia and only managed 35 in their loss to NC State.
With Virginia Tech averaging 40.7 rebounds a game and a margin of 8.5 more than their opponents, the Tar Heels will have to be more aggressive from the tipoff if they want to create more second-chance scoring opportunities with additional offensive rebounds.
North Carolina needs to hone in on defending Elizabeth Kitley from the rim, who leads the team with 11.3 rebounds per game. Kitley became the ACC’s all-time rebounding leader in December so if they fail to contain her early, they might be facing a large deficit before halftime.