Time To Dance: WBB meets St. John’s Saturday
History Ties COLUMBUS, Ohio — The North Carolina women’s basketball team dives into the NCAA Tournament on Saturday for the 30th time in program history, taking on St. John’s at Schottenstein Center in Ohio State.
The Tar Heels are the No. 6 seed in Seattle Area 3 and the Red Storm are the No. 11 seed after exiting the top four with a win over Purdue on Thursday. The teams will meet for the seventh time, the first since the 2008-09 season.
The game starts at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.
“We are thrilled to be here,” UNC coach Courtney Banghart said to open her press conference Friday afternoon. “This is my 11th NCAA Tournament and it never gets old – the opportunity ahead, the magnitude of the event…it’s a rainy day in Columbus and we’re happy to be here. “
And roll the video 📽 pic.twitter.com/Sab2jGhSMl
— Carolina Women’s Basketball (@uncwbb) March 17, 2023
Seeing the rivalry
UNC and St. John’s will meet for the seventh time, with Carolina having won all six previous meetings.
• The teams have had only one NCAA Tournament meeting, a first-round game at Chapel Hill in the 1984 tournament. That game, an 81-79 OT victory for the Tar Heels, is one of three only times UNC has gone to overtime as part of the NCAA Tournament. (Caroline won all three of those games in overtime.)
• When the teams last met, UNC won 83-73 at Chapel Hill on December 6, 2008.
North Carolina won an NCAA Tournament bid for the third straight year and is ranked sixth in the Seattle Area 3.
• UNC is making its 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and is 49-28 overall with an NCAA championship in 1994 and Final Fours in 1994, 2006 and 2007.
• Carolina is one of only seven schools, all of which are in this year’s field, to have been in the tournament field 30 or more times. The others are Tennessee (41), Georgia (36), Stanford (36), Texas (35), UConn (34) and Maryland (30).
• UNC is playing as the No. 6 seed for only the second time in school history. The first was in 1985, when the Tar Heels fell in the first round to third-seeded Penn State in a 32-team field.
• Last season, North Carolina was seeded No. 5 and won two games in Tucson, Arizona to reach the Sweet 16 for the 18th time in program history.
• The Tar Heels are 22-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games at Chapel Hill and 27-27 in road games.
Junior Alyssa Ustby, who will celebrate her birthday on Saturday, heads into the St. John’s game 10 points away from reaching 1,000 for her career. When she reaches the milestone, she will be the 40th player in program history to do so and the third on this year’s team, joining Eva Hodgson, who topped 1,000 at the start of the 2021-22 season. after scoring the first 914 points. of her career at William & Mary, and Deja Kelly, who reached that milestone in Miami on January 5.
Kennedy Todd-Williams is 103 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
The St. John’s roster includes three players who started their careers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jayla Everett, who leads the Red Storm with 16 points per game, played the last two seasons at Pitt before moving to SJU.
“Jayla has been a great player in our league, she’s got a ton of experience,” Banghart said. “A really gifted attacking player who is going to require a good defensive effort from us, one to 11.”
Redshirt senior Danielle Cosgrove played her first three years at Notre Dame before moving to St. John’s ahead of the 2021-22 season – she spent 2019-20 and 2020-21 at Indiana.
Graduate student Danielle Patterson played her freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame, but had already left the ACC by the time one of UNC’s current players was in the league.
The downside of playing a First Four team is that the Tar Heels didn’t know until around 9 p.m. Thursday who their first-round opponent would be. But one possible upside is that the Tar Heels were in the stands at Schottenstein Center Thursday to watch the Red Storm play in person.
Juniors Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby were asked about their observations in that game on Friday.
“I see a brave team that is very physical, they are tough, they like to play fast,” Kelly said. “They try to play you off your rhythm. That’s kind of what we saw throughout the game. They just played really well, they disrupted Purdue’s offense.”
“I thought St. John’s was just a very complete basketball team,” Ustby said. “We just have to expect that to happen in March – everyone is hopefully playing their best basketball. So I know we’re going to have a great game tomorrow night.”
Everything was built for this…
⚡️#GoHeels | #In Pursuit | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/PFLe83HzSa
— Carolina Women’s Basketball (@uncwbb) March 18, 2023