The North Carolina women’s basketball team, 24-9 on the season, will begin the 2014 NCAA Tournament campaign Sunday at 3 p.m. in Carmichael Arena, facing 24-7 UT-Martin, tournament champions out of the Ohio Valley conference.
The Tar Heels are the fourth seed in the Stanford Region and could face a potential Sweet 16 matchup with South Carolina, a No. 1 seed, in the Sweet Sixteen. But for now, UNC is focused on trying to get past No. 13 UT-Martin.
Though extremely youthful, the Carolina coaching staff isn’t allowing the players to use that as an excuse.
“We have never said the words ‘we’re a young team’ to them. We give them no excuses. This is who we’ve got, this is who we play, this is who we are and then we go play. We try to play against the perfect game every time, we’re just trying to improve each game,” Coach Calder says.
In fact, the Tar Heels are averaging more than eighty points per game and are led by the National Freshman of the Year in Diamond DeShields, who has a penchant for saving her best stuff for the most high-profile games.
Carolina has appeared in 25 NCAA Tournaments and remarkably, has been a top-4 seed 19 of those times.
Sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel says she’s calm, cool and collected heading into the Big Dance.
“Having them behind me, I just know that I have nothing to worry about. So they’re actually calming me down and they don’t even know it. It’s exciting. This is the time of year that everybody waits for. It’s just exciting, not overwhelming, but exciting,” McDaniel says.
The UNC-UT-Martin first round contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.