"It's an extremely challenging schedule, but I think our team will be up to the task," said Hatchell, who is heading into her 18th season at UNC and her 29th as a head coach. "We're going to be young in some spots and this schedule will be a good test, especially with so many NCAA Tournament teams early."
UNC opens the season at home on Nov. 21 against St. Francis (Pa.), which finished 23-8 last season, winning the Northeast Conference to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. The schedule includes a total of five nonconference opponents that played in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, and the Tar Heels will face four of them during a five-game stretch. On Dec. 7, Carolina travels to Old Dominion, which won the 2003 CAA title and reached the first round of NCAA play. On Dec. 17, the Tar Heels host Western Michigan, the 2003 MAC champion and an NCAA Tournament participant. They they bookend the holiday break with two more tough games, playing South Carolina in Myrtle Beach on Dec. 20 and hosting Penn State at Carmichael Auditorium on Dec. 30. South Carolina reached the NCAA Tournament second round last season and Penn State made it to the Sweet 16.
The game with Penn State will be the teams' first meeting since the 1984-85 season and is the first game of a home-and-home series.
(Penn State coach) Rene Portland and I are good friends and had been talking for a while about setting up a meeting,
Playing Penn State will be a great game for us as we get ready to head into the ACC season."
The Tar Heels open Atlantic Coast Conference play on Jan 2 with a home game against Wake Forest. Nine of Carolina's ACC games will be televised, including the Feb. 14 game at Duke, which will air nationally on ESPN2.
UNC finished the 2002-03 season 28-6 overall and 13-3 in ACC play, reaching the conference championship game and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels, ranked 12th in the final Associated Press poll and 15th in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches? poll, return four players who each started at least 17 games last season.
Among the returning starters are senior center Candace Sutton, a first-team All-ACC Tournament pick the last two years and a third-team All-ACC pick in 2003, and junior guard/forward Nikita Bell, a second-team All-ACC pick and All-Defensive Team selection a year ago. La?Tangela Atkinson, the 2003 ACC Rookie of the Year, led UNC in rebounding with 8.3 per game, second in the ACC. Junior guard Leah Metcalf started 17 games and earned second-team All-ACC Tournament honors, averaging 9.4 points per game.
Practice for the 2003-04 season begins on Oct. 18.
|Day Date Opponent Location TV Time|
|Wed. Nov. 5||Exhibition Game (Premier Players) Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Fri. Nov. 21||Saint Francis (Pa.) Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Sun. Nov. 23||Hofstra Chapel Hill||2 p.m.|
|Tues. Nov. 25||At Kentucky Lexington, Ky.||7 p.m.|
|Sat. Nov. 29||UMBC Chapel Hill||5 p.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 3||Tennessee-Martin Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Fri. Dec. 5||South Carolina State Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Sun. Dec. 7||At Old Dominion Norfolk, Va.||2 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 13||Wofford Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Wed. Dec. 17||Western Michigan Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Sat. Dec. 20||South Carolina Myrtle Beach, S.C.||3 p.m.|
|Tues.Dec. 30||Penn State Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Fri. Jan. 2||Wake Forest Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Sun. Jan. 4||Clemson Chapel Hill||3 p.m. RSN|
|Thurs. Jan. 8||At NC State Raleigh, N.C.||7:30 p.m.RSN|
|Sun. Jan. 11||Duke Chapel Hill||1 p.m. RSN|
|Mon. Jan. 19||At Maryland College Park, Md.||7 p.m.RSN|
|Thurs. Jan. 22||Georgia Tech Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Mon. Jan. 26||At Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C.||7 p.m.RSN|
|Thurs. Jan. 29||At Virginia Charlottesville, Va.||7:30 p.m.|
|Sun. Feb. 1||Florida State Chapel Hill||2 p.m.|
|Thurs. Feb. 5||At Clemson Clemson, S.C.||7 p.m.|
|Sun. Feb. 8||NC State Chapel Hill||5:30 p.m. FSN|
|Sat. Feb. 14||At Duke Durham, N.C.||5 p.m. ESPN2|
|Thurs. Feb. 19||Maryland Chapel Hill||7 p.m.|
|Mon. Feb. 23||At Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga.||7 p.m. RSN|
|Thurs. Feb. 26||At Florida State Tallahassee, Fla.||7 p.m.|
|Sun. Feb. 29||Virginia Chapel Hill||1 p.m. RSN|
2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament|
March 5-8 Greensboro, N.C.(Greensboro Coliseum)
2004 NCAA Tournament|
First Round: March 20 & 21
Second Round: March 22 & 23
Regionals :March 27 & 29; March 28 & 30 (East – Hartford, Conn. Mideast –Norfolk, Va.; Midwest –Norman,Okla.; West –Seattle,Wash. Final Four:April 4 & 6 in New Orleans, La. (New Orleans Arena)