UNC Holds Out for 71-67 Win

The North Carolina women’s basketball team picked up its second consecutive win with a suspenseful 71-67 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night in Carmichael Arena. UNC now stands at 12-7 on the season with a 4-7 ACC record.

The nail-biting victory came at the hands of several Tar Heels, with four players scoring double digits. Freshman guard Stephanie Watts once again led Carolina with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Redshirt junior forward Hillary Summers completed her seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore guard Jamie Cherry contributed 15 points and five assists. Freshman guard Destinee Walker added 17 points.

The Hokies, now 15-9 on the season, were led by senior forward Hannah Young’s 22 points, followed by junior guard Vanessa Panousis, who contributed 14 points.

“We shot almost 50 percent and I thought that was pretty good because they’re a really good team,” head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “They’ve had some big wins and some excellent players and some excellent shooters. They’re a great perimeter shooting team, but these guys have just continued to get better and better. We’re light-years away from where we were in November and that’s because they’ve worked hard.”

North Carolina jumped ahead quickly, as the Tar Heels played with energy and tenacity, forcing Hokies head coach Dennis Wolff to call an early timeout with about three minutes remaining in the first period after a Destinee Walker three-pointer, her first of three on the night. UNC would lead 23-10 by the end of the period.

North Carolina had a somewhat lofty lead at halftime, winning 38-21 after making four of their last five shots in the period, and shooting 50 percent at the half. The first half also featured a 46 percent three-pointer completion rate for UNC.

“We did a great job of jumping out at the beginning, as we haven’t been doing in our past couple games that we’ve been losing,” Cherry said. “We actually tied a third quarter and that was our coach’s biggest deal, was to win the third quarter. Even though they outscored us in the fourth, we still hung tough and we stayed poised down the stretch as we did at Boston College and we did tonight.”

What eventually allowed the Hokies to climb right back into the game, despite never achieving a lead and never tying more than once, was not UNC’s usual dreaded third period. What almost did the Tar Heels in was their fourth period, in which they allowed the Hokies to score 24 points, compared to their 11 points.

North Carolina entered the final period of the game with what may have been assumed as a potentially comfortable lead at 60-43, but a 60 percent field-goal percentage and a 66 percent three-point percentage brought the Hokies right up to speed with the Tar Heels. UNC stalled in the first six minutes or so of the final period, scoring only two points and allowing Virginia Tech to creep back within eight points at 62-54.

A 20-4 run eventually relinquished North Carolina’s lead to just one point, at 64-63 with only 44 seconds remaining in the game. A game of cat and mouse, the Tar Heels and Hokies exchanged fouls as the seconds on the clock eventually ticked away. UNC went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in order to secure the win.

Perhaps the biggest of the free-throws were Erika Johnson’s two baskets. Johnson, a redshirt senior forward, is a 39 percent free-throw shooter on the season.

“They’ve had great attitudes and they’re just fun to be around,” Hatchell said. “They make it exciting, that’s for sure. Foul shooting was big, we went 20-for-22 from the foul line and that was major. A good balance with our scoring, we out-rebounded. That was big. It’s fun to win and now we got to get ready for Florida. These guys did a great job”

Next for North Carolina is a two o’clock road game on Sunday at Florida State University.



UNC WBB Returns to Win Column

The North Carolina Tar Heels are back over .500 with their Sunday afternoon 86-78 win over Boston College in the Conte Forum. The team now stands at 13-12 on the season.

Redshirt junior forward Hillary Summers led UNC with a career-high 23 points and also contributed nine rebounds for a near double-double. Sophomore guard Jamie Cherry followed Summers with 21 points and 6 assists.

Senior guard N’Dea Bryant added 16 points and 6 assists, while freshmen guards Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts pitched in with 12 points each.

This marks UNC’s first win since Jan. 7, a positive sign for the team, as they had previously lost their past seven games in a row.

The game against the Eagles marked Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s completion of her second suspension. Hatchell was serving a suspension sanctioned from the NCAA due to a Level III violation of rules regarding game day introduction simulations of prospects during an official visit.

The game marks five losses in a row for an also struggling Boston College team. The Eagles were led by junior guard Nicole Boudreau, who produced a career-high 26 points. Boudreau was followed by sophomore guard Kelly Hughes’ 17 points and freshman center Mariella Fasoula’s 14.

The Eagles had nine three-pointers in the first half alone, earning them a 42-36 lead entering intermission.

The game featured four ties and 10 lead changes, but it was North Carolina’s impressive third and fourth period showing that put them over the top.

After much back and forth, North Carolina gained and held onto the lead with 8:19 remaining in the fourth period off a Walker three-pointer. Usually plagued by a slow start after halftime, the Tar Heels shot a blazing 66.7 percent from the field in the second half, which cemented their win.

UNC next hosts Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. in Carmichael Arena on Thursday night.



Hatchell Gets Win No. 700

UNC women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell picked up career win number 700 with Carolina on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena.

Hatchell’s Tar Heels opened ACC play against Clemson and improved to 11-5 after a 72-56 win. With Sunday’s win, UNC has a season-high five wins in a row.

The game included four Tar Heels with double digits with Jamie Cherry, a sophomore guard, leading the team with 16 points. A large majority of Cherry’s points came from the free-throw line; where she went 12-for-16.

Freshman Stephanie Watts and red-shirt junior Hillary Summers both added 14 points each; Summers accomplished her fourth double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. Worth noting, Watts was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week in December, as the guard averages 12.9 points per game this season.

Freshman Destinee Walker contributed 11 points, marking the 15th time in 16 games the guard has scored double digits.

The game only featured one tie, as UNC outpaced Clemson in scoring in every period except the second. Senior forward Xylina McDaniel opened scoring for North Carolina by scoring the game’s first four points and by the end of the period, Hatchell’s team had secured an 18-7 lead.

At halftime, North Carolina had secured a 32-22 lead, despite Clemson coming back within five points in the second period.

UNC’s largest advantage came in the third period in the form of a 20-point lead over the Tigers. A field-goal drought of over five minutes for the Tigers in the third helped keep North Carolina in the lead, as well as an 8-0 run for the Tar Heels. UNC entered the fourth period with a 50-37 advantage.

North Carolina put together a 16-8 run ending the fourth period and secured Hatchell’s career milestone.

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Thursday, January 7, against Syracuse in Carmichael Arena at 7 p.m.


Recognizing Heroes, Past And Present

TRIANGLE – You can vote online for your local favorites as the Greater Raleigh Sports Council has announced the nominees for their annual awards, to be presented in February at an “Evening of Champions” ceremony.

UNC soccer star Crystal Dunn is nominated alongside Chapel Hill High School soccer star Ben Fisher for the Amateur Athletics Award, presented to the Triangle’s top amateur athlete. Longtime East Chapel Hill tennis coach Lindsey Linker is nominated for the Community Spirit Award, honoring a career of community service.

And two Tar Heels are nominated for the Council’s inaugural Kay Yow Champion Award, honoring community leaders who have made impacts on the lives of others. UNC women’s basketball head coach Sylvia Hatchell is up for that honor, as well as former Tar Heel baseball player Chase Jones, who founded the Vs. Cancer Foundation and started the “BaseBald” tradition of baseball players shaving their heads to raise money for cancer research.

You can vote online for your favorites up to once a day at www.thesportscouncil.org/eoc/nominees.shtml.


The Carrboro branch of the Orange County Public Library is presenting a new photography exhibit featuring the work of Sophie Steiner, a teen photographer who lost her battle with cancer last year at the age of 14.

The exhibit is called “Life is a Beautiful Thing.” It features Steiner’s pictures and writings, along with other photos and reflections submitted by her peers.

The exhibit runs through March 31. A reception will be held at the library (inside McDougle Middle School) on Sunday, January 26 from 2:00-4:30.


Orange County’s Human Relations Commission is marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act with an event at the Carrboro Century Center on Sunday, January 26.

It’s entitled “Equal Justice Under the Law: Are We There Yet?” It will feature a discussion moderated by UNC professor Gene Nichol, the director of UNC’s Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity. Panelists include State Senator Valerie Foushee, civil rights attorney Al McSurely, and John “Blackfeather” Jeffries, a veteran of the lunch counter sit-ins of the 1960s.

The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and run until 5:00. Everyone is welcome.


Do you know a senior citizen who deserves recognition for their volunteer work? Home Instead Senior Care is seeking nominations from now through March 1 for their “Salute to Senior Service” program, recognizing seniors 65 and older who volunteer at least 15 hours a month of their time.

To nominate someone, visit SaluteToSeniorService.com.


As part of a national rural economic development program, the city of Mebane has received $1.2 million from the Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation to purchase two fire trucks and help build its new fire station.

The money is actually a zero-interest loan—part of the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which provides funds to local cooperatives like Piedmont Electric, who pass those funds to local organizations to help create jobs in rural areas. Mebane’s fire station project is slated to create 12 new jobs while reducing response times during emergency calls.

Once the funds are repaid, they’ll be loaned out again to support other projects in the area.


Smith By The Numbers

                           Dean Smith will be 82 on Thursday, which is February 28 and a neat juxtaposition of numbers wouldn’t you say? 
Wait, there is more irony here. Smith won his first NCAA championship as a coach in ’82, which was 31 years ago. And The Dean was born in 1931.
Next season will be the 17th since Smith retired – that is the exact number of ACC regular-season championships he won, which was far more important to him than his 13 ACC Tournament titles. Consistency over time was the mathematician’s favorite formula. He would take three months over three days, easy.
Nevertheless, the 17 + 13 = 30 is the total years it took Smith to win all the aforementioned championships. By the way, he also signed 30 players who went on to be first- (26) or second-round (4) NBA draft choices.
And that does not include Charlie Scott, who is listed as a seventh-round pick by the Boston Celtics (where he eventually won an NBA championship) because Scott signed with the Virginia Squires of the old ABA long before the 1970 NBA draft. (Like he did with Larry Bird, Red Auerbach drafted Scott as a “future” star.)
Of course, Smith retired with 879 career victories, which is roughly the number of lettermen he coached (or claimed or wished they had been) in his storied career. Just like 40,000 people still insist they were in Carmichael Auditorium for the famous 8-points-in-17-seconds comeback win over Duke in 1974.
The beloved Smith, as we all know, is suffering with progressive dementia and may not recognize all of the people who plan to give him a small birthday party and cake on Thursday. But, clearly, he is still regarded as one of the giants of the game and great humanitarians in the history of all sports. Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, Arthur Ashe Award from ESPN, the list goes on.
A petition for Coach Smith to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor in the United States – fell far short of the needed 100,000 signatures, but those who coached with, played for or just know the man believe he deserves such recognition for his work with racial integration and many other causes for the betterment of humanity and society.
After growing up watching his father, Coach Alfred Smith, put his job on the line by keeping black player Paul Terry on the Emporia High School team, Smith had as one of his goals when he arrived in Chapel Hill in 1958 to help head coach Frank McGuire integrate the Carolina basketball program. McGuire had recruited Wilt Chamberlain out of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, but The Stilt did not meet the archaic ACC entrance requirements of the time and went to Kansas.
You know the irony of that story, as the 1957 Tar Heels shocked the Jayhawks in triple overtime in Kansas City to win the NCAA championship. McGuire later coached Chamberlain with the old Philadelphia Warriors during the 1962 season when Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in Hershey, PA., and they remained lifelong friends.
Smith continued the fight for racial freedom in UNC athletics when he took over as head coach. He had invited freshman Willie Cooper, an African-American walk-on from Greensboro, to join the varsity in 1965 because Cooper was good enough to earn a scholarship. But choosing economics as a major, Cooper decided he could not do both and dropped basketball. Cooper’s daughter later played for Sylvia Hatchell’s team here.
The ground-breaker was Charlie Scott, whom Smith “stole” from Lefty Driesell and Davidson after Scott and his coaches at Laurinburg Institute had been refused service at a restaurant in downtown Davidson. Smith learned of that incident and, for the only time he ever recruited a player who had verbally committed elsewhere, invited Scott for a visit to Chapel Hill.
Scott loved Driesell, even called him “Lefty” as a high school kid. “Lefty,” he said, “I would love to play for you, but I just think Chapel Hill is a better place for me.”
One of the legends about Smith was that he treated all of his players equally, which of course is not true. The best players got the minutes, and Scott got privileges that Smith had not previously granted others on his teams. Entering school in the fall of 1966, Scott had to succeed at UNC to pave the way for other black athletes to follow. So Scott got special time away with assistant coach John Lotz, his best friend who was eventually the best man at Scott’s wedding, and Smith allowed Scott to visit a girlfriend in Durham and sleep away from Avery Dorm when he needed to. Often on the couch of Howard and Lillian Lee.
Scott was the chosen one because he was, foremost, a great player who would elevate the Carolina program. But he was also an excellent student who would surely graduate and a New York native tough enough to stomach some of the guff he would encounter in places like Columbia and Clemson.
Scott was not spared the racism of the time, the biggest injustice coming in 1969 when five  voters left him off the first-team All-ACC ballot. The graceful 6-6 Scott was unequivocally among the five best players in the ACC, the best most people thought. So with the urging of Smith and Lotz to prove those five racists wrong, Scott went out and tore up the 1969 ACC Tournament in Charlotte.
Remember those numbers? Twenty-eight points in the second half, 40 for the game, to rally the Tar Heels past Duke to their third straight ACC championship and, eventually, their third straight Final Four.
Scott’s famous 40 aren’t among Dean Smith’s numbers, but Smith was surely behind them, as he was so many other achievements that numbers don’t show.
Happy 82nd, Coach. We love you.


A UNC Basketball Coaches Respect, Connection and Relationship with Bill Friday

My Tribute to W.C. “Bill” Friday

After hearing the sad news of Mr. Friday’s death last Friday, University Day, I found the following tribute I began writing 2 years ago on the top of my desk.

I write this for two reasons (maybe three).

First, I recently attended a 90th birthday party on July 13, 2010 for W.C. Friday.

The second reason is because I just received a call on July 23, 2010 that my aunt Catherine, had passed away.  Catherine was my dad’s sister who lived on Cloninger Road in Dallas, N.C., about a mile down the road from W.C. Friday Middle School where W.C. “Bill” Friday grew up as a boy.

You see, a couple of months after I became the women’s basketball coach at UNC in July 1986, I made an appointment to meet with then-President Friday, head of the entire UNC campus system. 

I remember it like it was yesterday.  His office was on the top floor of the new Kenan-Flagler Business School.  Upon my arrival into his office, President Friday- in his southern gentlemen gracious way-greeted me as the new women’s basketball coach and asked what he could do for me.

I pulled out a picture that my aunt Catherine had given me when she learned that I had been hired at Carolina and handed it to him.  As he looked at the picture, his eyes got big, his mouth fell open and he said, “Where did you get this?!”  I explained that my aunt had given it to me after I got the UNC job and that she told me to give it to him.

You see, the picture was a team picture of the Dallas High School championship basketball team in 1937, and in the picture was Bill Friday with my uncle Ralph, his best friend, standing beside him.  Ralph was my Dad and my aunt Catherine’s older brother who was killed in World War II.

As President Friday gazed at the picture, he started to tell me about his connections to Dallas, N.C., and my family.  He said as a boy he would visit with my uncle Ralph and my dad’s family, Quincy and Maude Rhyne and their eight boys and two girls.  He remembered playing basketball out behind the house and next to the outdoor shed by the barn.  He remembered eating meals with the Rhyne family on various occasions and all the fun he had spending time with my family.

We had a very pleasant visit and he thanked me for the picture and for the visit.  Ever since that day, President Friday has called me his “home girl from Gaston County.”  He always mentions what a good friend my uncle Ralph was to him, how much fun they had playing on a championship basketball team together and how much my grandparents and my family meant to him when he was growing up in Dallas, N.C.

The third reason I wanted to write this was because as I write this I’m in France on a Junior World Championship recruiting trip near where my uncle Ralph died in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge fighting for our country and our freedom.

My aunt Catherine had told me stories about how the older boys (Bill Friday and Ralph), they were eight or nine years older, would play and kid around with her.  She would look up to them and think they were so very special.  Even back then, Bill Friday was showing his leadership style and his courtesy, treating everyone with respect and treating them the way he would want to be treated.

Bill Friday had a way of making everyone feel special, even if he didn’t agree with them.  Every time my team would win an ACC Championship, a NCAA Championship, or I received a coaching award, I always received a phone call and a handwritten note (not an email) from Mr. Friday.  He always referred to me as his “home girl from Gaston County”.  He always told me that he was proud of me for doing things the RIGHT WAY.

On July 13, the day of his 90th birthday celebration, it was the last day of our 2010 summer girls’ basketball camp.  I had about 600 girls in Carmichael Arena on campus waiting on me to give out end of camp awards.  I put them on hold while I ran over to the Carolina Club (Alumni Center) to wish President Friday a happy birthday. 

For his birthday, I took him a mini Carolina backboard basketball hoop and ball and a Carolina Women’s Basketball coaches shirt.  He graciously hugged my neck and kissed me on the cheek, and turned to his beloved wife Ida and said, “This is our women’s basketball coach, my home girl from Gaston County.  Her family is from Dallas, N.C.”  Ida looked at me and said I hope you’re a good basketball coach.  I said I try hard to make Mr. Friday proud of me.  She said, “I know he is.” 

On that day (his 90th birthday), it was said that W.C. “Bill” Friday was the most respected person in N.C. I don’t know anyone who would disagree.

This being said, my challenge to the legislature of North Carolina and Governor Bev Perdue is to implement a class in every school in N.C. where the character, qualities, manners and leadership style of W.C. “Bill” Friday be taught to our young people.  Our young people are not being taught the same lessons on character and leadership the way W.C. “Bill” Friday was taught.  Call it Friday’s Character Building and Leadership.  And even if it is only offered every Friday, it would be a Friday well spent. 

P.S. – July 30th, 2010

As I just returned from my long recruiting trip to the Junior World Championship in France, I went by the office to check on some things, guess what; I had a note in my campus box from whom else but 90 year old birthday boy, Bill Friday, thanking me for attending his birthday celebration and for the gifts.  Even at 90 years of age, he still showed that gracious southern style of respect and leadership that makes him the most respected person in North Carolina.

The world would be a much better place if we had more people like Bill Friday.

–UNC Women’s Basketball Coach, Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell