The ACC sportswriters even voted her Preseason ACC Rookie of the Year - and six times this season she earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors outright or shared the honor with another player. And Atkinson didn't disappoint, averaging 9.9 points an d8.2 rebounds her rookie season including eight double-doubles as she started 19 of 32 games. She earned honorable mention All-ACC honors - one vote off the third team.
So her announcement today as ACC Rookie of the Year was pretty much expected.
" I think that La'Tangela will be one of the best players we've ever had at the University of North Carolina," said Hatchell even before the season started. "I don't have any doubt that one day her jersey will hang in Carmichael. She's a tremendous passer, she can drive, she's 6-1, but her defense, her arms are so long she can steal a ball, and it's just amazing. And she's just going to get better and better because she's still learning."
Her athleticism and great wingspan got Atkinson on the court immediately for a deep Tar Heels squad. She drew instant comparisons to former UNC stars Tracy Reid and LaQuanda Barksdale, both in the WNBA.
Atkinson and the rest of the Heels await Sunday evening's NCAA selection special on ESPN. Sites like collegerpi.com project UNC a four-seed but it's my opinion - take that for what it is worth - that UNC will be a three seed.
For the first time this year, the top four teams in each region will no longer host a sub-regional for the first and second round. The first rounds are already determined - N.C. State is the closest site and Duke is expect to be assigned there.
Teams make actually play on their home court, so there is a change the Tar Heels despite being the top seed at the first two rounds site could end up playing on a first or second round opponent's home court.