The Orange will try to knock the Tar Heels from the ranks of the unbeaten
Day & Time: Thursday, December 30, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Carmichael Arena, Chapel Hill, NC
TV/Streaming: ACC Network
Radio: Cuse.com, ESPN 97.7
Odds: It’s usually hit or miss around which women’s college basketball games you’re able to bet on. But for those interested in WBB and other games to wager on, check out the latest odds from DraftKings (odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details).
Rivalry: Syracuse, 8-5
Current Streak: Syracuse, 1
First Meeting: The Orange and Tar Heels first met in Chapel Hill in November 1998. North Carolina coasted to an 85-68 victory.
Last Meeting: After a 24-point blowout loss at Carmichael Arena in its first ACC game of last season, the Orange got some revenge with an 88-76 win at the Dome on January 19. Syracuse stormed back from a six-point deficit with ten minutes left, outscoring the Tar Heels 27-9 in the final quarter. Kiara Lewis led the Orange with 23 and Tiana Mangakahia added 19 and 13 assists.
Head Coaches: Syracuse – Vonn Read (1st year, 8-4) | Siena – Courtney Banghart (3rd year, 40-25)
Coach Bio: Banghart took over at UNC after long-tenured head coach Sylvia Hatchell resigned amid a storm of controversy about racist remarks and forcing players to play through injuries.
Banghart has an Ivy League background, playing her college ball at Dartmouth and earning two first-team All-Ivy selections. She still owns the league record with 273 career three-pointers. After graduating in 2000, she came back to Dartmouth as an assistant coach from 2003-07 before taking the head job at Princeton.
The Tigers had never played in the NCAA Tournament when Banghart arrived. When she left, Princeton was among the best mid-majors in the nation. In Banghart’s 12 seasons, the Tigers reached the Big Dance eight times and had a 30-0 regular season in 2014-15. Banghart amassed a 254-103 record before leaving for Chapel Hill in 2019.
Last Year: North Carolina finished the season 13-11 overall and 8-9 in ACC play. They snuck in the NCAA Tournament as 10-seed but lost to Alabama in the first round.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Deja Kelly averages a team-high 16.8 points per game and shoots at a 45 percent clip from three. The Tar Heels have a lot of size, but she is one of their smaller players at five-foot-eight. If UNC can penetrate Syracuse’s zone, Kelly should be the beneficiary of some good looks from distance.
If Syracuse Wins: A win could vault the Orange into the NCAA Tournament picture and would be Syracuse’s second victory against a ranked team this season.
If Syracuse Loses: A loss to Carolina won’t hurt Syracuse’s resume, but it would bring an end to the Orange’s six-game winning streak.
Fun Fact: Before last year’s road loss to the Tar Heels, Syracuse had won three of its last four games at Carmichael Arena. It’s nice to see that at least one Orange can beat Carolina on the road.