By R.L. Bynum
North Carolina’s women’s basketball non-conference schedule will be a lot more fun for the players than last year when the Tar Heels only left the state for ACC games.
The best perk this season will bea a trip to Bahamas on Thanksgiving week to play in the Goombay Splash, facing VCU and Washington on Nov. 26 and 27 (the order hasn’t been determined) in Bimini. The opponent each day will be determined when the Rams (16–11 last season and an NCAA berth) and Huskies (7–14) meet on Nov. 25.
UNC (13–11) plays the first of six non-conference home games Nov. 9 against North Carolina A&T (14–3), the reigning MEAC champion that lost to ACC champion N.C. State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Aggies feature senior guard Kennedy Boyd, who started her college career at UNC, and two other ACC transfers in graduate student Chanin Scott (Georgia Tech) and sophomore Faith Blackstone (Syracuse).
N.C. A&T and VCU are the only nonconference opponents that made the NCAA tournament team last season and five had losing records. No nonconference opponent even got votes in the final AP poll from last season.
The ACC portion of the schedule is expected to be released in mid-September.
“Our non-conference schedule was created in an effort to challenge us against teams from all across the country, versus a variety of styles of plays, and doing so in unique environments before getting into the gauntlet of the ACC,” UNC coach Courtney Banghart said. “We will match up against opponents from the Pac-12, the Big 12, the Big Ten and the ACC, in addition to playing some of the best programs in our region. Coming off a COVID year without fans, we are all very eager to return to the energy of our fans in Carmichael.”
The Tar Heels play the second of a home-and-home series with a game at Charlotte (10–12) on Nov. 14 (the Tar Heels won in Carmichael 81–75 last season), then meet Appalachian State (15–12) in Chapel Hill on Nov. 17 and visit TCU (10–15) on Nov. 21 in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
on Nov. 14, then meet Appalachian State (15–12) in Chapel Hill on Nov. 17 and visit TCU (10–15) on Nov. 21 in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
The event honors the late Maggie Dixon, the sister of TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon, who died on April 6, 2006, of a heart arrhythmia weeks after coaching Army to its first NCAA tournament berth. Alabama and Duke will also participate in the event, meeting in the other game of the double header.
After visiting Minnesota (8–13) on Dec. 1 in the first Big Ten/ACC Challenge since 2019, the Tar Heels play four consecutive home games, meeting James Madison (14–10) on Dec. 5, UNC Asheville (10–15) on Dec. 12, Jacksonville (4–17) on Dec. 15 and Alabama State (16–4) on Dec. 21 before beginning ACC play starts.
Two of the four Alabama State losses last season came against SWAC champion Jackson State.
UNC’s nonconference schedule
|Nov. 9||Tuesday||Home||N.C. A&T|
|Nov. 17||Wednesday||Home||Appalachian State|
|Nov. 26||Y-Friday||Bimini, Bahamas||VCU or Washington|
|Nov. 27||Y-Saturday||Bimini, Bahamas||VCU or Washington|
|Dec. 5||Sunday||Home||James Madison|
|Dec. 12||Sunday||Home||UNC Asheville|
|Dec. 21||Tuesday||Home||Alabama State|
|X — ACC/Big Ten Challenge; Y —Goombay Splash; Z — Maggie Dixon Classic|
Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications