UNC ousts top-seeded South Carolina, reaches Elite Eight for first time since 2008
Blue Devils take three from Tar Heels for first time since 1994
TAR HEELS TO MEET NO. 1 SEED SOUTH CAROLINA SUNDAY
North Carolina’s Xylina McDaniel offers a simple observation of her upcoming opponent, South Carolina: “They are a No. 1 seed,” she said, “but they are beatable.”
Just three months ago, the Tar Heels handed the Gamecocks their first loss of the season with an eight-point win on a neutral court in Myrtle Beach.
The stage is far bigger now as they gear up to face off again, both teams just two wins away from a trip to the Final Four.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who led her team to a 29-4 record and the first top seed in program history, sees little benefit in studying tape from that December meeting in preparation for Sunday night’s rematch in the NCAA tournament’s Stanford Regional semifinals.
“We took a peek at it. I don’t think you can take much from the game aside from some little things, adjustments we can make,” Staley said Saturday. “I think both teams are playing at a different level, so you have to get more current.”
The fourth-seeded Tar Heels (26-9) hope to keep winning so they can welcome coach Sylvia Hatchell back to the bench after her battle with leukemia. Doctors have said she has a good chance to travel to Nashville, Tenn., if North Carolina can reach the Final Four for the first time since 2007.
UNC WOMEN SET SIGHTS ON DUPLICATING 1994 NATIONAL TITLE RUN
Before she became one of North Carolina’s most famous athletes, Marion Jones was a decoy.
With seven-tenths of a second left in the 1994 NCAA women’s basketball championship game, the then-Tar Heel freshman was supposed to bring her defender out to the top of the key and open up the paint, possibly for a lob pass to 6-5 center Sylvia Crawley.
Jones did take one step out toward the 3-point line, but then she just stood there. Like everyone else, her attention was fixed on what was about to become one of the most famous shots in college basketball history.
“It’s very surreal — like an out-of-body experience,” Jones said. “I’m watching it like everyone else.”
Stephanie Lawrence inbounded the ball to Charlotte Smith on the right wing, and Smith’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave UNC a 60-59 win over Louisiana Tech.
While UNC is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its only national championship, the current squad is eager to add another. The Tar Heels will face South Carolina in a regional semifinal today at Stanford University (7 p.m., ESPN2).
Ryan Deitrich’s game-winning single in the bottom of the 12th gave Duke a series-clinching 9-8 win over No. 18 North Carolina Saturday at Jack Coombs Field.
The fifth-ranked North Carolina men’s lacrosse team outscored ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins 9-2 over the last 31:30 of the game to beat the Blue Jays 13-9 at Homewood Field here Saturday.
Looking for its eighth Bryan National Collegiate title, the third-ranked Duke women’s golf team holds a six-stroke lead heading into the final round at the 6,386-yard, par 72 Champions Course at Bryan Park Golf and Enrichment Center. The golfers dealt with light rain during most of the second round.
Drew Van Orden struck out 12 UNC batters over his eight innings of work as Duke beat the Tar Heels 3-2 at Jack Coombs Field for its first baseball win over UNC since 2010.
This richly layered squad of Tar Heel standouts — all undergraduates — is a collection of quick learners coming of age as they head to the Sweet 16 at Stanford University’s Maples Pavilion. Sunday’s (March 30) clash against No. 1 seed South Carolina (ESPN2, 7 p.m. EDT) will be a rematch of a game the Tar Heels won 74-66 earlier this season.
SIDELINED UNC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH GETS MEDICAL OK FOR FINAL FOUR
Before boarding a plane for California on Thursday, the North Carolina women’s basketball team received some additional motivation. If the Tar Heels win the Stanford Regional, their Hall of Fame coach will join them in Nashville for the Final Four.
“I told the girls there’s no reason you can’t get to Nashville,” Hatchell said. “And when you get there I’ll sing and dance with you on the table.”
Hatchell has missed the entire season as she received treatment for leukemia, which is now in remission. Her final scheduled chemotherapy session ran from March 13-18, which put her in line to rejoin the team next weekend.
“I’m actually doing fantastic,” said Hatchell, who removed her surgical mask to talk to reporters at Carmichael Arena Thursday. “Great, great reports from my doctors. I’ve come a long way and I’m at the end of this journey, and we’re waiting on my immune system to do one of the most favorite words that I ever say, and that is rebound. I love the word rebound, and my immune system is coming up daily and we’re just waiting on it to rebound to full strength, and it’s close to that.”
UNC (26-9), the No. 4 seed, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in three seasons and will face No. 1 South Carolina on Sunday at Stanford (7 p.m., ESPN2). If the Tar Heels win, they will face either No. 2 Stanford or No. 3 Penn State for the Stanford Regional title on Tuesday, with a trip to Nashville on the line.
Duke will host No. 18 North Carolina in a three-game ACC baseball series at Jack Coombs Field beginning Friday, March 28 at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils (14-12, 4-5 ACC) and Tar Heels (15-9, 5-4 ACC) will also meet at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Coombs Field.
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