All-American Chiney Ogwumike is in her final season, and tonight will be her last game in Maples Pavilion as she and the team make another push at the national title.
Ogwumike said that earlier in the year, and again earlier this week, she took a marker and wrote the exact same thing on the whiteboard both times.
'Third Round,' it read, reminding her team that exiting the tournament before then was not an option.
Coach Tara VanDerveer said the entire team's dynamic has changed.
"We, as coaches just said, 'We need a culture shift.' Last year's team was a little bit of a coattail team. We were just riding Chiney's coattails," she said.
"As coaches, we took the couches out of the locker room ... and brought in workout equipment. We took down the pictures and put up more motivational signs. The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary, and we need people working."
Will she play?
After sustaining both an ankle twist and an injury in an already hurting knee, North Carolina's leading scorer and freshman superstar Diamond DeShields did not practice Monday.
DeShields has been working with doctors, undergoing treatment, but said Monday that whether or not she'll play tonight is a game-time decision.
"I'm sure everyone has seen the injury or the incident or whatever you want to call it," DeShields said Monday.
"But it's doing well, it's getting better. It's going to be a game-time decision."
DeShields is dressed and did participate in the pregame shoot around Tuesday.
Who will guard her?
As of Monday VanDerveer didn't have an answer, but she's certain that whoever does take on defending DeShields, won't be able to do it alone.
Freshman guard Lili Thompson will likely take on a heavy load of the responsibility.
"Whoever it is, will definitely need ... you have to have help," VanDerveer said.
"We're still working through that."
In the event that the Cardinal does double — or perhaps even triple — team DeShields, the Tar Heels are prepared with a plan.
"The good thing about more than one person guarding Diamond at the same time is that there’s someone wide open and Diamond does a good job of finding it," freshman forward Stephanie Mavunga said.
"If Diamond isn’t flowing offensively with her shot, Diamond is going to find the assist."