No. 15 Tar Heels enter NCAA WBB Tournament as 4-seed

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The 15th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels earned an at-large spot in the 2015 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament on Monday.

According to pre-tournament selection predictions, the Tar Heels (24-8) were questionable in hosting early-round games in the Tournament.

However, North Carolina’s selection as a 4-seed in the Greensboro Region confirmed that they would start their tournament run in Carmichael Arena when they tip off against No. 13-seed Liberty (26-6) at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

“One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to be a top-16 seed and we accomplished that,” North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

“This is the bracket I’ve been hoping for all season long. Play two games at home in Chapel Hill and then go on to Greensboro. It’s always important to have the chance to play at home. The familiarity for our players is such an advantage and then being able to play in front of our fans is really, really big.”

Liberty won the Big South Tournament championship for the 16th time in 19 seasons with a 74-64 victory over High Point.

The Flames are led by a pair of double-figure scorers in Ashley Rininger (12.6) and Karly Buer (11.5).

The winner of the UNC-Liberty game will play the winner of the first round game between No. 5 seed Ohio State (23-10) and No. 12 seed James Madison (29-3) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

North Carolina is making its 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

The Tar Heels own a 45-24 record in 25 previous appearances as Hatchell owns a 43-20 record in 21 appearances with UNC.

The Tar Heels have advanced to at least the regional semifinal game in 14 of its last 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, most recently in 2014 when the Tar Heels reached the regional semifinal as a No. 4 seed.

North Carolina has played in three Final Four’s, winning the national title in 1994.