UNC women resume rich tradition of top-10 matchups with potentially two in 5 days

By R.L. Bynum

It doesn’t get much bigger in November than a top-10 women’s basketball matchup, and North Carolina is about to resume a rich program tradition of such top-10 clashes.

No. 8 North Carolina and No. 5 Iowa State meet in a battle of 5–0 teams at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2) for the Phil Knight Invitational championship at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

After having no such matchups for nearly nine years, Carolina will potentially have two in the stretch of five days.

In the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the Tar Heels will play at No. 6 Indiana at 6 p.m. Thursday (Big Ten Network). The Hoosiers, who won at then-No. 4 Tennessee on Nov. 14, are 7–0 after a 79–64 Saturday victory in Las Vegas against Memphis.

That will be another top-ten clash, assuming Carolina still is in the top 10 when the new AP Top 25 poll is released Monday.

“As we tell these guys, that’s why they came here,” Banghart said. “They came here to play in these types of environments and these types of games.”

The Tar Heels are 21–19 in top-10 matchups, including three such wins in the 1994 NCAA tournament on their way to the national championship.

It will be Carolina’s first such matchup since No. 8 Maryland beat No. 10 UNC 79–70 on Jan. 5, 2014. The Tar Heels haven’t won a top-10 matchup since No. 8 Carolina beat No. 4 Duke on Feb. 9, 2009, in Carmichael Arena. Their last win away from Chapel Hill was when No. 3 UNC won at No. 2 Oklahoma 80–79 on Nov. 23, 2008.

Iowa State’s history in top-10 matchups isn’t nearly as extensive, as this will be only the seventh such matchup in Cyclones program history.

Although both are undefeated, only Carolina has beaten a ranked team after knocking off No. 18 Oregon 85–79 in the PKI semifinals on Thursday.

The Tar Heels showed plenty of resiliency in rallying from several deficits, including eight points in the fourth quarter, as Eva Hodgson scored 21 points and five 3-pointers, and Deja Kelly collected 17 points and seven assists.

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“I give DK a ton of credit,” Banghart said of Kelly. “One of the goals she has this year is just to be a better facilitator with the ball in her hands, and I thought she managed that end of that game really well.”

Four starters are averaging double-figure points: Alyssa Ustby 15.8 (with 8.2 rebounds), Kelly 15, Hodgson 13.8 and Kennedy Todd-Williams 13.0 (with 5.4 rebounds). Center Anya Poole (9.8 points per game) leads the team in rebounding, averaging 7.8 per game.

Sophomore reserve Destiny Adams is averaging 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

The Cyclones advanced with an 80–49 thrashing of Michigan State in the PKI semifinals Thursday. Their closest game was an 88–85 win at Northern Iowa on Nov. 16. They went 28–4 last season before falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Wing Ashley Joens, a 6–1 senior preseason AP All-American and the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, leads the Cyclones. She’s averaging 22 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Stephanie Soares, a 6–6 senior center, averages 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and has two double-doubles this season. Emily Ryan, a 5–11 junior point guard who was an All-Big 12 Preseason pick, averages 13.8 points and 6.6 assists.

Eric Frede, Rebecca Lobo and Brooke Weisbrod will be on the ESPN2 call of the game.

UNC in top-10 matchups

UNC 21–19 in top-10 matchups
No. 8 Maryland 79, No. 10 UNC in College Park, Md., Jan. 5, 2014
No. 5 Maryland 78, No. 8 UNC 72, OT, in Chapel Hill, Jan. 8, 2012
No. 8 UNC 75, No. 4 Duke 60 in Chapel Hill, Feb. 9, 2009
No. 1 Connecticut 88, No. 2 UNC 58 in Chapel Hill, Jan. 19, 2009
No. 4 UNC 80, No. 2 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Nov. 23, 2008
No. 6 LSU 56, No. 2 UNC 50 in NCAA regional final in New Orleans, March 31, 2008
No. 3 UNC 97, No. 4 Maryland 86, 2 OTs, in Chapel Hill, Jan. 26, 2008
No. 1 Connecticut 82, No. 3 UNC 71 in Storrs, Conn., Jan 21, 2008
No. 1 Tennessee 83, No. 4 UNC 79 in Knoxville, Tenn., Dec. 2, 2007
No. 3 Tennessee 56, No. 2 UNC 50 in NCAA national semifinal in Cleveland, April 1, 2007
No. 4 UNC 78, No. 6 Maryland 72 in ACC championship in Greensboro, March 3, 2007
No. 1 Duke 67, No. 4 UNC 62 in Durham, Feb. 25, 2007
No. 1 Duke 64, No. 2 UNC 53 in Chapel Hill, Feb. 8, 2007
No. 2 UNC 84, No. 3 Maryland 71 in College Park, Md., Jan. 28, 2007
No. 2 UNC 82, No. 7 Connecticut 76 in Chapel Hill, Jan. 15, 2007
No. 2 UNC 70, No. 4 Tennessee 56 in Chapel Hill, Dec. 3, 2006
No. 3 Maryland 81, No. 1 UNC 70 in NCAA national semifinal in Boston, April 2, 2006
No. 1 UNC 75, No. 6 Tennessee 63 in NCAA regional final in Cleveland, March 28, 2006
No. 1 UNC 91, No. 4 Maryland 80 in ACC championship in Greensboro, March 5, 2006
No. 2 UNC 77, No. 1 Duke 65 in Chapel Hill, Feb. 25, 2006
No. 6 Maryland 98, No. 1 UNC 95 in Chapel Hill, Feb. 9, 2006
No. 3 UNC 70, No. 2 Duke 70 in Durham, Jan. 29, 2006
No. 7 UNC 77, No. 8 Connecticut 54 in Storrs, Conn., Dec. 5, 2005
No. 5 Baylor 72, No. 4 UNC 63 in NCAA regional final in Tempe, Ariz., March 28, 2005
No. 4 UNC 88, No. 5 Duke 67 in ACC championship in Greensboro, March 7, 2005
No. 8 UNC 77, No. 2 Duke 68 in Durham, Feb. 27, 2005
No. 9 UNC 71, No. 4 Connecticut 65 in Chapel Hill, Nov. 21, 2004
No. 1 Duke 73, No. 9 UNC 47 in ACC championship in Greensboro, March 8, 2004  
No. 2 Duke 97, No. 6 UNC 63 in Durham, Feb. 20, 2003
No. 1 Duke 87, No. 9 UNC 67 in Chapel Hill, Jan. 20, 2003
No. 3 N.C. State 79, No. 9 UNC 72 in Chapel Hill, Jan. 3, 2000
No. 4 UCLA 69, No. 5 UNC 65 in Chapel Hill, Nov. 20, 1999
No. 1 Tennessee 76, No. 7 UNC 70 in NCAA regional final in Nashville, Tenn., March 23, 1998
No. 9 Florida 68, No. 5 UNC 48 in Chapel Hill, Nov. 23, 1997
No. 6 UNC 75, No. 8 Virginia 71 in Charlottesville, Va., Jan. 27, 1997
No. 4 UNC 60, No. 6 Louisiana Tech 59, NCAA championship game in Richmond, April 3, 1994
No. 4 UNC 89, No. 7 Purdue 74, NCAA national semifinal in Richmond, April 2, 1994
No. 4 UNC 81, No. 4 Connecticut 69, NCAA regional final in Piscataway, N.J., March 26, 1994
No. 5 UNC 77, No. 8 Virginia in ACC championship in Rock Hill, S.C., March 7, 1994
No. 8 UNC 89, No. 10 Alabama in Chapel Hill, Dec. 30, 1993



UNC statistics


DateMonth/dayTime/scoreOpponent/event
(current ranking)
LocationTV/record
November
9WednesdayW, 91–59Jackson StateHome1–0
12SaturdayW, 75–48TCUHome2–0
16WednesdayW, 93–25South Carolina StateHome3–0
20SundayW, 76–65James MadisonHarrisonburg, Va.4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 85–79OregonPortland5–0
27SundayW, 73–64No. 21 Iowa State Portland6–0
DecemberACC/Big Ten Challenge
1ThursdayL, 87–63No. 2IndianaBloomington, Ind.6–1
7WednesdayW, 64–42UNCWHome7–1
11SundayW, 99–67WoffordHome8–1
16FridayW, 89–47USC UpstateHome9–1
Jumpman Invitational
20TuesdayL, 76–68No. 12 MichiganCharlotte9–2
ACC season begins
29ThursdayL, 78–71No. 19
Florida State
Home9–3, 0–1 ACC
January
1SundayL, 68–65No. 11
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.9–4, 0–2 ACC
5ThursdayL, 62–58MiamiCoral Gables, Fla.9–5, 0–3 ACC
8SundayW, 60–50No. 10
Notre Dame
Home10–5,
1–3 ACC
12ThursdayW, 70–59VirginiaCharlottesville, Va.11–5,
2–3 ACC
15SundayW, 56–47No. 22 N.C. StateHome12–5,
3–3 ACC
19ThursdayW, 61–56No. 9 DukeHome13–5,
4–3 ACC
22SundayW, 70–57Georgia TechHome14–5,
5–3 ACC
26ThursdayW, 72–57PittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
6–3 ACC
29SundayW, 69–58ClemsonClemson16–5,
7–3 ACC
February
2ThursdayW, 73–62VirginiaHome17–5,
8–3 ACC
5SundayL, 62–55LouisvilleLouisville17–6,
8–4 ACC
9Thursday7 p.m.SyracuseSyracuseACCNX (ESPN3)
12SundayNoonBoston CollegeHomeACCNX (ESPN3)
16Thursday8 p.m.No. 22 N.C. StateRaleighACCN
19Sunday4 p.m.Wake ForestHomeACCN
23Thursday8 p.m.No. 11
Virginia Tech
HomeRSNs
26SundayNoonNo. 9 DukeDurhamRSNs
March
ACC Tournament
1–5Wednesday–SundayTBATBAGreensboroACCN Wed.-Sat.; final on ESPN or ESPN2
You can buy tickets to home games here. ACCN means the game airs on ACC Network. ACCNX means that the game is only streaming on ACC Network Extra (ESPN3.) RSNs means the game airs on regional sports networks (in many cases, Bally Sports but also MASN, NESN and Yes Network.)

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications

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