UNC Kicks Off Basketball Season at Late Night With Roy

Keeping with tradition, UNC celebrated the beginning of basketball season with its annual “Late Night with Roy” event–featuring the Tar Heels as both athletes and dancers.

Hosted by former UNC and Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Jesse Holley, the night also featured a unique twist with the addition of various skills competitions.

At the end of it all, though, the team scrimmage–the famous Blue vs. White game–decided the night’s winner.

Justin Jackson’s three-pointer in a one-minute overtime period helped lift the White squad to a 40-37 victory that featured a great deal of up-tempo action.

While almost the entire roster was able to get some time in the spotlight during the scrimmage, Jackson led his team with 13 points on the way to a victory in both the game and the overall competition.

Other members of the White team included Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson, Nate Britt, Luke Maye, Stilman White, Kanler Coker and Aaron Rohlman.

Britt added nine points to the cause, while Meeks and Pinson each tallied six apiece.

Late Night With Roy

Joel Berry was the Blue team’s top contributor all night long at Late Night with Roy. (Photo via Smith Cameron) Photography

The Blue team consisted of Joel Berry, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley, Brandon Robinson, Seventh Woods, Kenny Williams and Shea Rush.

Hicks led the blue squad in the scrimmage with 13 points, while Berry chipped in nine.

Earlier in the night, Berry teamed up with Bradley to give the Blue side a 2-0 lead by winning both the shooting stars competition and the skills contest.

The first event consisted of two teams attempting to be the first to make shots from various locations on the floor, while the second included an obstacle course that tested players’ dribbling, passing and shooting.

Bradley, a 6-foot-10 freshman, flashed a nice outside shot during those events–even though that may not mean much when it comes to in-game action.

During the next three competitions–a relay race, the dance-off and the three-point shootout–the White team recovered to take the lead heading into the main event.

The relay race was a confusing jumble that forced players into twerking and wearing football helmets at different times, but it provided a good laugh when Pinson took over on the microphone and did his best Larry Fedora impersonation.

Pinson also got the crowd going with his dance moves–giving his team a point after defeating Berry in a one-on-one showdown that broke a tie following the team routines.

Britt then went out and took home the three-point competition with a win over Jackson in the semifinals and Robinson–a lanky, 6-foot-6 freshman–in the finals.

The UNC women’s basketball team started the night off with a dance routine and a scrimmage of its own, after head coach Sylvia Hatchell was given a standing ovation upon her introduction.

It was a night of fun and basketball that gave fans a an early preview of Chapel Hill’s favorite season.

UNC will play its first exhibition game Friday Nov. 4 at home against UNC-Pembroke.


2016-17 UNC Women’s Basketball Schedule Released

The UNC women’s basketball schedule for the 2016-17 season was released on Thursday.

The regular season will start at home for the Tar Heels on Friday, November 11 with a game against Alabama State.  The Tar Heels will play 16 home games including match ups with Duke, Florida State, NC State, and Notre Dame.

The ACC slate of games will be particularly exciting in January.  Carolina will host Florida State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and NC State in Carmichael Arena during the first month of 2017.

Carolina will be traveling to Freeport, Bahamas in late November for the Junkanoo Jam.  The first game there will pit UNC against USF.  Carolina will play Georgia or Minnesota in their second game in the Bahamas.

The Wisconsin Badgers will host the Tar Heels in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge on December 1.


Get the full schedule at GoHeels.com.


Vermont Cancels Women’s Basketball Game at UNC Citing HB2

The University of Vermont athletics department has cancelled a women’s basketball game against the University of North Carolina due to concern over the state of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 law.

The game was scheduled for December 28 in Chapel Hill.

Vermont Athletics Director Jeff Schulman released this statement:

“The decision to cancel to our Dec. 28 women’s basketball game at North Carolina was made as a result of concerns over the HB2 law, which prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms based on their gender identity.

We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued. It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.

This decision was made in consultation with our coaches, the women’s basketball team, and key university officials. We fully understand and sympathize with the impact that this decision may have on the North Carolina women’s basketball schedule. However, we believe this decision is consistent with our values and the conversations with our coaches and student team members. These were the most important considerations.”

House Bill 2 is known to many as the “Bathroom Law.”  The law overturned a non-discrimination Charlotte ordinance that extended protections to the LGBTQ community.  Bruce Springsteen, Pearl JamRingo Starr are among music artists who have cancelled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law.   North Carolina arenas have expressed fears that the NCAA could pull out of the state due to the law.


UNC Women’s Basketball to Travel to Bahamas for November Tournament

The UNC women’s basketball team will compete in the 14th annual Junkanoo Jam Women’s Basketball Tournament this November in the Bahamas.

Carolina is slated to take on South Florida on Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 24 – and either Georgia or Minnesota on Friday or Saturday.

The eight teams in the field include Creighton, Dayton, Georgia Tech and Missouri.

North Carolina defeated Oregon State and Pacific when competing in the tournament in 2008.


Cardinal Gibbons All-Time Leading Scorer Commits To UNC

Olivia Smith will follow in the footsteps of her three older sisters and enroll at UNC.

Smith will be another addition to the UNC women’s basketball team’s 13th-ranked recruiting class, according to ESPN.

“We are excited that Olivia will be joining our 2016 class,” said head coach Sylvia Hatchell. “Having someone with Olivia’s basketball IQ, work ethic and personality as well as being an exceptional student fits right in with our team. Olivia had offers from Harvard, Yale and other Ivy league schools and we are happy that she will be an ambassador for our great University.”

She was a four-year starter at Cardinal Gibbons High School and compiled career totals of 1,709 points, 736 rebounds, 288 steals and 136 assists.

“Carolina is unlike any other university,” said Smith. “My three older sisters chose UNC and I have seen their Tar Heel pride and joy day-in and day-out. When I step on campus I feel an energy and excitement that is unmatched anywhere else.”

Smith was named a USA TODAY North Carolina first team selection last season.

“It’s a place I’ve dreamed of attending and now I’m lucky enough to have the chance to play basketball at the school I’ve grown up watching,” she said.


Two UNC Recruits Named State Player Of The Year

Two women’s basketball recruits, Taylor Koenen and Jhileiya Dunlap have been named Gatorade State Girls Basketball Players of the Year for their home states.

Koenen is a guard from Minnesota and has led Shakopee High School to a 27-1 record.

She averages 21.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals per game. Koenen is a five-star recruit, according to ESPN and is ranked as the 43rd-best player in the country.

Dunlap is a forward from Colombia, South Carolina and has also led to her team to a 27-1 record this season. Under her leadership, Dreher High School won its third championship in the past five season.

Dunlap averages 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 steals, 3.1 blocks and 2.9 assists per game, good enough to earn the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s 2015-16 Class AAA Player of the Year honors.


Watts, Walker Honored by ACC Ahead of Tournament Tipoff Wednesday

Members of the North Carolina women’s basketball team have been honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of the conference tournament beginning on Wednesday.

UNC guard Stephanie Watts was selected as the ACC Freshman of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.

Watts won ACC Rookie of the Week honors four times over the course of the season, more than any other first-year players, and finished at No. 10 in the conference scoring list, averaging 14.5 points per game. The Wesley Chapel native also checks in among the conference’s leaders with 1.3 blocks per game. Watts led the Tar Heels in scoring 11 times, including posting a career-high 30 points versus NC State on February 21.

Watts was also named to the All-ACC second team, on Tuesday. Watts and teammate Destinee Walker both earned selections to the conference’s All-Freshman team.

Walker, from Orlando, Florida, scored in double figures 27 times during the season – the most among ACC freshman – and averaged 14 points per game.

Walker, Watts and the rest of the Tar Heels will be in action on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament matching up against Pittsburgh.

Tipoff is scheduled for one o’clock. The game can be heard live on 97.9 FM/1360 AM WCHL.


Stroman On Sports: Up Or Down For The UNC Women?

The 2015-16 UNC women’s basketball team was ranked in the preseason top 25, but the season itself has been a slog. A midseason injury to Xylina McDaniel depleted a roster that had already been hit with several key preseason transfers – and now, the Tar Heels head into this week’s ACC tournament as the 13th seed, needing a miracle run through the tourney to qualify for an NCAA bid. (And the worst may be yet to come, depending on what sanctions the NCAA decides to impose in the wake of The Scandal.)

But from another perspective, the future for UNC women’s basketball looks bright. Freshman sensations Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts have shined for the Tar Heels this year and their Carolina careers are only just beginning – and head coach Sylvia Hatchell can look forward to a strong recruiting class coming in next fall.

Are the Tar Heel women on the rise or on the decline? WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with Deborah Stroman, sports commentator and UNC business professor.


The Tar Heels take on 12th-seeded Pittsburgh in Round 1 of the ACC tournament, Wednesday at 1 pm in the Greensboro Coliseum. (The winner faces no. 5 seed Miami on Thursday.)


UNC loses final regular season game to Duke

On Sunday afternoon head coach Sylvia Hatchell did not get the birthday present she had hoped for, but instead her team was served a 93-57 blowout loss to Duke University in Carmichael Arena.

Freshman Stephanie Watts led North Carolina with 18 points in UNC’s final game of the regular season. In addition, freshman Destinee Walker contributed 14 points, while redshirt junior Hillary Summers added 10 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double and a career-high in rebounds.

Duke was led by Rebecca Greenwell’s 27 points, followed by Oderah Chidom’s 20 points.

UNC closes out the season with a 14-17 overall record, while 4-12 against ACC opponents, ending the season on a five-game losing streak. The team’s downfall of the season was away games, in which the Tar Heels lost eight of nine games.

With the win, Duke is 19-11 overall and 8-8 against conference opponents.

UNC did not have a lead or tie the Blue Devils at any point in the game. With 57 points, it is the fourth least amount of points North Carolina has scored all season. UNC failed to break 60 points five times this season.

A Duke 7-0 run over two and a half minutes gave the Blue Devils a 9-2 lead at 5:30 in the first period. Once UNC broke through with a Cherry three-pointer, the team was 1-for-6 in their attempts over the scoring drought.

The Blue Devils did not completely run away with the game early on, leading the Tar Heels 23-14 at the end of the first period.

The second period would be North Carolina’s downfall and the major difference in the game, as the Tar Heels were outscored 30-8 after UNC went 10-for-35, shooting only 28 percent in the first half.

“I felt like we just got behind because of our defense,” Summers said. “We just have to do better with that. You can score all day, but if you’re not stopping the other team you can’t win.”

At halftime, North Carolina trailed 53-22, with Greenwell’s 19 first half points for Duke nearly matching UNC’s score.

“Our defense the first half was basically non-existent because they just scored at will,” Hatchell said. “But again, Duke played well, shot the ball good, got rebounds, but we didn’t defend them very well at all. We took some bad shots and they were able to come down and get some easy buckets on transition.”

The Tar Heels nearly matched the Blue Devils’ 21 third period points with 17 of their own, though they ended the period trailing 74-39.

Again, UNC remained close in scoring in the fourth period with 19 points, compared to Duke’s 18.

“I feel like it’s kind of more motivation when you’re down, because it’s like, of course you want to come back and win,” Summers said. “At those moments we try to stick together and make sure we’re doing what we need to do. Obviously it was kind of tough today, but that’s usually what we try to do.”

At Duke’s peak, the Blue Devils led by 39 points at 80-41 with 7:43 remaining in the fourth period.

North Carolina completed only 28 percent of their shots throughout the game, going 19-for-66, compared to Duke’s 52 percent completion rate on the game. In addition, Duke had 54 points in the paint, compared to North Carolina’s 10 and 51 rebounds compared to UNC’s 33.

“Rebounding has been our Achilles’ heel all year and it definitely was tonight too,” Hatchell said.

With a nod to her seniors on Senior Day, Hatchell sporadically gave limited minutes to Rachel McGirt, Anne Corrigan, Marissa Riley and Paige Neuenfeldt. The four seniors combined for two points with a Riley field-goal.

Worth noting, Watts, an ACC Rookie of the Year candidate, went 5-for-11 on three-point attempts in the game. 15 of the freshman’s 18 points were from distance. On her impressive first year, Watts said the most memorable aspect of the regular season will be the team’s senior leadership.

“Although we may be limited in numbers, I guess that’s what people look at it as, the senior leaders were just able to really keep us motivated and keep us inspired to keep working hard and never give up,” Watts said.

The Tar Heels will next play in the ACC Women’s basketball tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, which spans from March 2 – 6. Their first game is on Wednesday at one o’clock against Pittsburgh.

“The regular season’s over and we’re getting ready for tournament time,” Hatchell said. “We need to learn a lot from tonight. I just talked to the team downstairs about what ACC tournament means and how well we’ve always played. We’ve been in the championship many times and we’ve done that with some teams that are not seated that high, so we’ve got a tough battle, but I want to go there and make some noise.”



Stroman On Sports: An Olympic Challenge

The 2016 Olympics is fast approaching, and all the eyes of the sporting world are soon to descend on Rio de Janeiro – but with concerns about pollution, poverty, disease, and a lack of infrastructure, it’s increasingly unclear whether Rio will be ready.

Deborah Stroman is a sports commentator and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She and WCHL’s Aaron Keck discussed the state of the Olympics (including her experiences at Olympics past)…


…as well as the state of Tar Heel men’s and women’s basketball.