IC Women's Hoops Blog

Regular tracking of the University of North Carolina Tar Heel women's basketball season. Information covers news updates, game coverage, recruiting and all sorts of other tidbits we find interesting enough to post.

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June 4: Carolina picks up a big commitment with a verbal from Cetera DeGraffenreid. The Smoky Mountain senior guard is a speedy scoring machine, averaged 31.7 points a game for the 28-1 Lady Mustangs. She has 2,358 career points with her senior season yet to come.

"I knew there was no other school I wanted to go to." DeGraffenreid told The Sylva Herald. :I didn't want to talk to coaches and make them think I might go to their school when I knew I wouldn't."

Apr. 3: Maryland controlled the tempo, and with a banged-up Ivory Latta, even 28 points and 10 rebounds from Erlana Larkins wasn't enough, as the Terps prevailed in Saturday's semifinal, 81-70.

"Today just we didn't play well," Sylvia Hatchell said. "Rebounding was a big key. We knew that was going to be a big factor. And we just couldn't make a three point shot [4-23 3pt]."

The 2005-06 accolades include: 33-2 record, ACC regular season champs, ACC Tournament title champs, three All-ACC players, ACC player of the year, ACC coach of the year, No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, a Final Four appearance, national coach of the year and national player of the year.

Congratulations to the Tar Heels on a terrific season.

Apr. 2: It's Final Four day in Boston: No. 1 UNC vs. No. 3 Maryland at 7 p.m. on ESPN. The Tar Heels have played the Terps twice this season, the first an OT loss in Chapel Hill and the second a convincing win in the ACC championship game.

Apr. 1: The Associated Press has announced its national Coach of the Year -- it's Sylvia Hatchell! From the AP ... "Hatchell, who guided North Carolina to the program's first No. 1 ranking, was voted coach of the year and received her award amid great fanfare. The school's pep band showed up for the ceremony and struck up the fight song as she walked to the podium, accompanied by rhythmic clapping by the cheerleaders."

Ivory Latta finished a close second for AP Player of the Year, just one vote short of LSU's Seimone Augustus.

Mar. 31: ESPN has named Ivory Latta the National Player of the Year! (link)

Mar. 30: IC subscribers can check out an exclusive video profile of Ivory Latta from Inside Carolina and Fox Sports -- Meet Ivory Latta

Support the Heels - get your Final Four T-shirt! They arrived at Johnny Tshirt today - CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

Mar. 29: The Tar Heels are headed to the Final Four! They opened up a double-digit first-half lead in Tuesday night's Elite Eight clash with Tennessee and held off the Vols the rest of the way for a 75-63 win.

Ivory Latta was the star of the show as usual, with 20 points and 9 assists.

"We're the No. 1 team in the nation," Latta said, "and tonight we showed it."

So it's off to Boston for this weekend's Final Four. Sunday's opponent? A familiar foe -- Maryland.

Mar. 28: Tonight it's UNC vs. Tennessee, with the winner heading to Boston for the Final Four.

"I thought we would meet them somewhere down the road, this is a little earlier than expected," Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "This could very easily be a national championship game."

The Elite Eight showdown will be nationally televised on ESPN at 7 p.m.

"It's is going to be a great game," said UNC senior forward La'Tangela Atkinson. "They like to run the floor, we like to run, they like to rebound and battle on the boards and we do the same."

Mar. 27: Tied at 68 all, Ivory Latta (19 pts, 8 ast) drove to the hoop for the winning layup, giving the Tar Heels a 70-68 Sweet 16 win over Purdue on Sunday (watch video of the game-winner).

"She's our point guard, our leader and she's a winner," head coach Sylvia Hatchell said postgame

Aftewards, amid the celebration, Latta had to be carried off the floor due to cramps.

"I'm a tough little cookie," Latta said. "It's going to take a lot to knock me out of a game."

Erlana Larkins led all scorers with 23 points.

Next up: Tennessee on Tuesday for a spot in the Final Four.

Mar. 26: UNC's Sweet 16 matchup with Purdue is today at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.

Mar. 24: North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell and junior guard Ivory Latta have been named as finalists for prestigious Naismith honors. Hatchell is among four finalists for the Naismith Award, which goes to the national coach of the year. Also on the list are LSU's Pokey Chatman, Ohio State's Jim Foster and Maryland's Brenda Frese.

Mar. 23: Check out the ICTV video feature as the Tar Heels march on in the NCAA Tournament: Women Ready for Sweet 16

Mar. 22: Carolina's Sweet 16 opponent next Sunday will be Purdue. The No. 4-seeded Boilermakers beat UCLA, 61-54, Tuesday night.

Mar. 21: Playing Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament? No problem. The Commodores cut UNC's lead to 63-60 with 11:49 to play, but the Heels closed the game on a 26-10 run to silence the home crowd for an 89-70 win. "The kids dug deep and we cracked down a little bit on defense and picked up our intensity some," Coach Hatchell said. Ivory Latta had 27 points, while Erlana Larkins added 22 points and 10 rebounds. UNC heads to the Sweet 16 and will play next Sunday in Cleveland. The opponent will be the winner of Tuesday's UCLA/Purdue game.

Mar. 20: They didn't get respect from the NCAA Committee, so now they'll just have to earn it. UNC plays Vanderbilt tonight in the NCAA Tournament second round -- on Vanderbilt's home floor. The game tips tonight at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2. Ivory Latta says the Heels aren't fazed by the home crowd situation: "Our road games have been very successful. We try not to pay too much attention to [the controversy], but you can't help it because you see it and hear it all the time. But it doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter at all. It's going to be fun."

Mar. 19: The team admits they didn't play their best basketball on Saturday, but Ivory Latta promises that will change in Monday's second-round matchup with Vanderbilt. "We'll be clicking on Monday," she said. "How about that? We will be clicking."

Mar. 18: The Tar Heels didn't play at the top of their game, but still cruised to an easy opening round win over UC Riverside, 75-51. "I thought we probably played for about 6-8 minutes the way we should've played and the way we have been playing through the ACC tournament," Coach Hatchell said. "The players know that our timing is a little bit off. Some of our passes, just a few little breakdowns, things like that." Freshman Rashanda McCants led all scorers with 15 points.

Mar. 14: After a long week of waiting, the 2006 Women's NCAA Tournament Bracket was announced Monday evening with some surprises. Despite being the top overall seed, it appears the Tar Heels were placed in the toughest bracket. The other top seeds in their bracket are 2-seed Tennessee (ranked No. 6 by the AP), 3-seed Rutgers (No. 9) and 4-seed Purdue (No. 11).

"I think our bracket is definitely the toughest, but we've played great teams all year and we'll be prepared," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Our team will be very motivated by the strength of our bracket. We'll use it as a positive to prepare for every game we play. I don't think there's any doubt the team that comes out of our bracket will be well-prepared for the Final Four."

Carolina's first round game is against UC Riverside on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Nashville. (2006 Bracket)

Mar. 5: Back to back! Behind Tournament MVP Ivory Latta's 26 points and Erlana Larkins' 26 points and 12 rebounds, Carolina grabbed its second straight ACC Tournament title Sunday with a 91-80 win over Maryland. Larkins and Little joined Latta on the All-Tournament Team. Now the focus turns to the NCAA Tournament -- the brackets will be announced next Sunday. "I've got great kids, they're playing their hearts out for each other and for me," Coach Hatchell said. "We're healthy, we're an exciting team, we've got great chemistry.

Mar. 4: This one was a breeze. The Tar Heels routed NC State in the ACC Tournament semifinals Saturday, 90-69, as five Heels finished in double-digits. Next up: Maryland. But for UNC, the opponent is of little worry. "It doesn't matter who we play," La'Tangela Atkinson said. "We're just going to go out and play Carolina basketball. If it's Maryland, we play Maryland. If it's Duke, we play Duke. It doesn't matter."

Mar. 4: Ivory Latta has been named the ACC Player of the Year. She is the fourth player in North Carolina history to win the honor. "Coach says you've got to have fun," Latta said. "If you're not having fun, you're not going to win and you're not going to be happy." Well, the Tar Heels are doing a lot of winning and certainly appear to be having a blast this season.

Mar. 3: After a slow first half, Carolina ran Virginia off the court in the second half, 82-56. Camille Little and Ivory Latta led the Heels tied with 17 points. Little and Erlana Larkins added 10 rebounds each for UNC, who rebounded UVA 54-39.

LaToya Pringle kept UNC in the first half, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds and four huge blocks.

Latta chalked up two more three pointers, giving her 56 games in a row with a three. Her total now is 227, ninth in ACC history and tied for third in school history.

Carolina will now face the winner of the Florida State/N.C. State game on Saturday at 1:30pm.

Mar. 3: Coach Sylvia Hatchell has been voted the ACC Coach of the Year. "I've been doing this a long time, and I've had a lot of great teams," Hatchell said. "Trust me, I know, any coach is only as good as their players. I've got great players, and I've got a great staff. They make me look good."

The Tar Heels begin their ACC Tournament play against Virginia at 11 a.m. today.

Mar. 1: The UNC women's team already has two verbals for the 2007 season. Juniors point guard Italee Lucas from Nevada and Rebecca Gray from Kentucky have already announced for the Heels.

Feb. 28: Ivory Latta was a unanimous pick for first-team all-ACC, and was joined on the squad by teammate Erlana Larkins. Camille Little made the third team.

The Tar Heels open play in the ACC Tournament on Friday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Thursday's Boston College/Virginia game.

Feb. 27: Two weeks after giving up the No. 1 ranking, North Carolina received all 46 first-place votes to reclaim the top spot in the latest Associated Press women's basketball poll released on Monday. Duke moved down to No. 2, just eight votes ahead of LSU, while Maryland stayed at the fourth spot.

Feb. 25: No. 2 Carolina takes down No. 1 Duke, 77-65, to sweep the regular season, continue their now five-game win streak over the Devils and send the seniors out on a great night. Leading by as many as 17, UNC held off a rally from the Devils to win the ACC regular season title. UNC finishes the regular season a program best 26-1 overall and 13-1 in the ACC. (game story)

Feb. 23: Future Tar Heel Jessica Breland was named to the 2006 McDonald's All-American Team. (full team listing). Ranked #6 in the class of 2006, the 6-4 forward/center from Bertie High School averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists a game and was also named a WBCA All-American. Bertie ended their season at 24-2 with a loss in the NCHSAA playoffs last night. (game story).

Feb. 21: The Tar Heels forced 25 turnovers in a 69-62 win over Boston College on Monday. Ivory Latta led the way with 23 points and 9 steals. Now the preparation begins for Saturday's season finale against Duke. (game story)

Feb. 20: There are only two games remaining -- both at home -- until the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels host Boston College tonight for a 7 p.m. tip at Carmichael Auditorium and televised by Regional Sports Networks. The Eagles (19-7, 6-5 ACC) are ranked No. 18 and led by Brooke Queenan, who is averaging 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Feb. 18: For the first time in the program's history, Carolina went through their regular season undefeated on the road. They completed this feat in Friday night's 84-75 win at Virginia Tech. Ivory Latta led the way with 26 points, five assists and only one turnover. "I think that's why she's the best point guard in America," Coach Hatchell said. "She's the little engine that makes us go." With two home games remaining before the ACC Tournament, UNC is now 24-1 (11-1 ACC).

Feb. 17: The Tar Heels (23-1, 10-1) return to action tonight, playing at Virginia Tech. The Hokies (17-6, 4-6) are led by Carrie Mason (12.8 ppg, 46% 3pt), who is coming off a 7-of-8 three-point shooting performance against FSU. The 6:30 tip-off will be televised by Fox Sports South/Comcast and Sun Sports.

Feb. 15: North Carolina's two commitments from the 2006 class have been having outstanding seasons. Trinity Bursey has led her Western Harnett team to a 20-2 record, while winning the 3A Cape Fear Valley Conference regular season title with a perfect 14-0 mark. The 5-10 Bursey, who averages 28 points and has a season high of 44, is a small forward with a 36" vertical. She's also an honor student with a 3.8 GPA, and is a strong candidate for 3A player of the year. Bursey will, however, have to beat out UNC's other signee, Bertie County superstar Jessica Breland. 3A Bertie is currently 21-1 and ranked No. 7 in the state. Most players achieve a triple double once or twice; Breland nearly averages that with 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks. She is ranked as one of the top 10 high school seniors in the country and is a very strong candidate for the McDonald's All-American Game. Both are scheduled to be on campus this summer.

Feb. 14: In the new AP Poll, released Monday, the Tar Heels come in at No. 3. There are three ACC teams in the Top 4, as Duke sits atop the poll, followed by LSU, UNC and then Maryland.

Feb. 13: This one was a little too close for comfort in the second half, but that's when Ivory Latta took charge on offense for a 13-3 run to put the game out of reach for a 72-60 final Sunday at Virginia. During that second-half stretch, the Tar Heel defense held the Cavs to 1-11 FG and forced eight turnovers. (game story)

Feb. 12: Time to start a new streak. The Tar Heels head to Charlottesville on Sunday to play Virginia (13-9, 2-8). The 5:25 tip-off will be televised by ESPN2. The Cavs are led by sophomore guard Sharnee' Zoll, who is averaging 10.5 points and an ACC-leading 6.7 assists per game.

Feb. 10: Physical play, controversial calls -- the bottom line was the Tar Heels were up 70-56 last night, shot only 11-of-23 from the free throw line and lost the lead and the game in overtime, 98-95, to No. 6 Maryland at Carmichael. "If we would've made some foul shots, we wouldn't even be talking about [a loss]," Coach Hatchell said postgame. Of course, it didn't help that star forward Erlana Larkins was in too much pain to play in the overtime or that Alex Miller had to be taken to the hospital after a scary collision (X-rays were negative). Regardless, Carolina is now 22-1 (9-1) and credit to Camille Little for a career-high 24 points. (game story)

Feb. 9: The Heels face a tough challenge tonight, as Maryland comes to town. The Terps are 21-2 (8-1) and ranked No. 6 in the nation in this week's AP Poll. Maryland player to watch is sophomore Crystal Langhorne, who is putting up 16.3 points and 9.2 boards per game. The Terps lead the NCAA in rebounding margin (+14.9) and ranks in the top five in four other categories: second in three-point percentage (43.4), second in scoring offense (84.3), third in field goal percentage (49.1) and fourth in scoring margin (+22.3). Indeed, this game will be a good test for the No. 1 Tar Heels. Tip-off at Carmichael is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Feb. 8: Ivory Latta has been named the ACC Player of the Week. Pretty amazing it's only the third time in her career she's gotten the award and only the first this season. There was no way to ignore the performance at Georgia Tech over the weekend. She now leads UNC in scoring with 17.5 points and 5.4 assists per game, shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from three-point range.

Feb. 7: New poll, same result. This week's AP Top 25 poll was released yesterday and the Tar Heels remain No. 1, getting all 46 first-place. Duke is No. 2, LSU is No. 3 and UConn is No. 4. So, UNC has won at No. 2 and at No. 4. Pretty impressive. No. 6 Maryland comes to Chapel Hill on Thursday.

Feb. 6: Ivory Latta put on a show yesterday, scoring 30 points with remarkable shooting numbers -- 11-14 FG, 6-7 3pt -- as the Heels won at Georgia Tech, 75-56, and are now 22-0 (9-0 ACC). (recap)

Feb. 5: UNC heads to Atlanta and the Alexander Memorial Coliseum for a 2 p.m. game today against Georgia Tech (13-8, 2-6). The Yellow Jacket player to watch is sophomore forward Janie Mitchell, averaging 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Feb. 4: Ivory Latta has received plenty of recognition from Sports Illustrated of late. In last week's issue of the magazine, there were a couple photos and a blurb comparing her to Allen Iverson. Yesterday, an article on SI's web site spotlighted the Tar Heel star. (SI: Just 5-6, Ivory Latta has carried UNC to new heights)

Feb. 3: The Wolfpack put up a good fight, but were without Tiffany Stansbury (suspended) and the Tar Heel defense held them to 0-for-14 on three-pointers, so it was only a matter of time until UNC pulled away and won, 75-58. Ivory Latta led the way with 18 points and 6 assists, while Camille Little and Erlana Larkins both posted 17 points. (game story)

Feb. 2: The Tar Heels will aim to defend their No. 1 ranking tonight as they host NC State. The Wolfpack are 13-7 (3-4) and were ranked No. 25 in the nation when UNC beat them at Reynolds Coliseum on Jan. 15, 65-53. They are led by Tiffany Stansbury and her 13.7 points per game.

Feb. 1: What's it like being No. 1 for the first time, Coach Hatchell? "The last few days have been wild, to put it mildly," she said. "It's been great, the attention, the enthusiasm over the team and our ranking. But everybody's going to give us their best shot."

Jan. 31: North Carolina is ranked No. 1 in the AP women's poll for the first time in school history. "We know we can't relax," Coach Hatchell said. "Everybody's going to be after us. And we want to be No. 1 at the end of the season." (link)

Jan. 30: What a comeback! Trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half, UNC came roaring back for a thrilling 74-70 win in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Erlana Larkins had 23 points, La'Tangela Atkinson had 15 rebounds and Ivory Latta posted 17 points, 6 assists and a near-KO after running into a screen late. "We stayed tight with each other, we tried to be confident and positive," Camille Little said. "We just stuck together, and we knew we had to keep playing hard. We knew that we could come back and win the game." After the national TV interviews, with a strong Tar Heel fan contingent cheering her on, Latta jumped around the gym in celebration. Check out the story on the game in USA Today.

Jan. 29: Tonight is the big showdown - UNC at Duke. The nation's top-ranking is on the line and the game will be nationally televised by ESPN2-HD at 7 p.m. Check out the preview in the Durham Herald-Sun.

Jan. 28: UNC took care of Wake Forest easily, 91-57, last night. "It was a great team effort," Coach Hatchell said. "We were able to play a lot of kids. We made some mistakes - we had way too many turnovers (22) - but we didn't slow down." (game story/box score) Christina Dewitt's 22 points were a career-high for the Little River, S.C. native. Her stat line read 7-of-8 FG and 4-of-4 on three-pointers. "Coach Calder has been working with me on my 3-point shooting," she said. "He's been getting on me because I tend to step up and cross the line when I take the shot. It paid off in this game."

Jan. 27: The Tar Heels travel to Winston-Salem tonight to play Wake Forest (10-7, 2-3 ACC). The 7 p.m. game will be televised regionally.

Jan. 26: With an 18-0 record, this is tied for the Tar Heels' best start in program history. Carolina also started 18-0 in 1994-95.

Jan. 25: Coach Hatchell has already reeled in one of the nation's Top 10 prospects in Windsor (N.C.) Bertie forward Jessica Breland. Check out her Scout.com Profile

Jan. 24: The new AP Poll has the Tar Heels at No. 3 behind Tennessee and Duke, but with Tennessee's loss last night to Duke, the No. 1 ranking will be on the line when UNC and Duke meet on Monday.

Jan. 23: Sophomore Erlana Larkins has been named ACC Player of the Week. She averaged 22.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in wins over Georgia Tech and Florida State the past week.

Jan. 22: Welcome to Inside Carolina's new Women's Hoops Blog. This blog has been started with the understanding that it won't be the most comprehensive spot for coverage of UNC women's basketball info. Rather, the goal of this blog is to educate those who don't already know about one of the most exciting teams in Chapel Hill. We do want to thank UNC Athletic Communications in advance as they are sure to be one of the major sources for this blog.

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