CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--Three UNC women's basketball letterwinners - LaShonda Allen, Joy Hairston and Cherie Lea - will not return to the team for the 2001-02 season.
Allen, a 6-5 center who has one year of eligibility left, will end her career for medical reasons and remain on scholarship at North Carolina while completing her degree. Allen, who is from Warren, Ohio, appeared in 24 games last season and started four while averaging a career-best 2.2 points per game. Chronic overuse knee problems have forced her to give up basketball.
Hairston, a 6-0 guard from Durham, N.C., has three years of collegiate eligibility remaining and plans to transfer to Louisburg College. She appeared in 10 games and averaged 1.4 points for UNC last season as a freshman.
Lea, a 5-9 guard from Blanch, N.C., plans to transfer to UNC Wilmington, where she'll play for former Tar Heel assistant coach Ann Hancock. Lea appeared in 29 games last season and started four, averaging 2.5 points per game. As a freshman, she played in all 33 games and started 10. She will sit out the 2001-02 season and have two years of eligibility remaining.
"We wish LaShonda, Joy and Cherie all the best and appreciate the contributions they've made to our program," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.
Seven letterwinners return to the UNC roster for 2001-02, including senior guard Nikki Teasley, who sat out the 2000-01 season. The veterans will be joined by five freshmen.
"I really like the potential this team has," Hatchell says. "We're going to be young, with Nikki as our only senior, but we've got some stars of the future. We'll be very athletic and very balanced."
The Tar Heels, 15-14 last year, open the 2001-02 season on Nov. 9 in the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament. In the first round of play, UNC will host George Mason.