Duke, UNC await opponents in ACC Women's Tournament
Duke and North Carolina have combined to win 11 of the past 13 ACC women’s basketball tournaments, and both schools have put themselves in a good position to win the title again this year.
The tournament starts with first-round action today at the Greensboro Coliseum, but the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels have byes until Friday’s quarterfinals.
“We’re excited to have a bye because it’s really hard to win a championship and play four games in a row,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We’ve been in that situation and actually got to the championship game but just run out of gas a couple years ago.”
After winning the 2010 and 2011 tournaments as the No. 1 seed, sixth-ranked Duke (27-2, 17-1 ACC) is the top seed once again.
No. 15 UNC (26-5, 14-4) started the season unranked and was picked fifth in the preseason ACC media poll, but the Tar Heels surpassed expectations and tied for second in the conference with Maryland. The Terrapins won a coin toss and took the No. 2 seed, while UNC took the No. 3 seed.
The road will be tougher for eighth seed N.C. State (15-15, 7-11), which faces No. 9 Clemson today at 2 p.m. But the Wolfpack had success as the No. 9 seed in the 2012 tournament, knocking off top-seeded Duke and becoming the lowest-seeded team ever to make the ACC Tournament semifinals.
“Tournament time is exciting,” N.C. State coach Kellie Harper said. “Basketball is a tournament sport, and there’s nothing like it during the regular season. It’s just a great time for basketball fans, for players and coaches. It’s a time to step out of your season and start fresh.”
Duke will face the N.C. State-Clemson winner Friday at 2 p.m., while UNC will play either No. 6 Virginia or No. 11 Boston College at approximately 8:30 p.m.
The semifinals will be Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and the final is Sunday at 2 p.m. All the games will be broadcast on Fox Sport Carolinas except for the championship game, which will be on ESPN2.
“From our standpoint, it’s a brand-new season; everybody is 0-0,” Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “It’s refreshing in a lot of ways because the regular season to me is very, very difficult and kind of a grueling endurance contest. And so the ACC tournament is one for the fans, it’s exciting, it’s in a great place, and it’s an honor to be a part of it, and it’s a lot of fun.”