CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The 12th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels earned an at-large bid as the No. 4 seed in the Stanford Region in the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament on Monday.
With an overall record of 24-9, the Tar Heels will tip off in first-round play against the No. 13 seed UT Martin Skyhawks (24-7) at 3 p.m. in Carmichael Arena on Sunday.
“We’re obviously thrilled to be back in the NCAA Tournament,” associate head coach Andrew Calder said.
“This is our 25th appearance in the tournament. We look forward to hosting UT Martin, Michigan State and Hampton on our beautiful Chapel Hill campus. Were excited to have the opportunity to play in front of our fans, please come out and support us.”
UT Martin won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship for the fourth-straight season with a 78-66 victory over Belmont.
The high-scoring Skyhawks are led by three double-figure scorers in Heather Butler (23.7), Jasmine Newsome (19.4) and Ashia Jones (12.9).
“This is a great opportunity for our team,” said head coach Sylvia Hatchell.
“We have a young team with a lot of talent and I’m glad we will be able to start the NCAA Tournament at home at Carmichael Arena.”
The winner of the UNC-UT Martin game plays the winner of the first-round game between the No. 5 seed Michigan State Spartans (22-9) and the No. 12 seed Hampton Pirates (28-4) in second-round play on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“I’m excited for my second trip to the NCAA Tournament,” sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel said.
“Last year we fell short too early. Since we’re playing at home I know it will be very exciting, very comfortable for us. I think everyone is ready and it’s going to be a fun journey.”
ESPNW National Freshman of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year Diamond DeShields had a different take on her first experience watching the bracket unveiling.
“I was shocked at how confused I was,” she said.
“I didn’t know what was going on and still don’t understand the seeds and the brackets. I guess being a player I just care about who we play. I don’t really care who other teams are playing on the other side of the country. I just want to know who we are playing and get ready for that game because that could be the last game of the season.”
DeShields also added how she looks forward to playing at home this weekend.
“Chapel Hill is a comfortable environment for us. We will have a home court advantage as far as the fans go. They have done a great job of supporting us thus far so I don’t expect anything less of them this weekend. Home court advantage exists so playing at him will definitely help.”