COLUMBUS, Ohio – The North Carolina women’s basketball team dives into NCAA Tournament play on Saturday for the 30th time in program history, taking on St. John’s at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.
The Tar Heels are the No. 6 seed in the Seattle 3 Region and the Red Storm is the No. 11 seed after advancing out of the First Four with a win over Purdue on Thursday. The teams will meet for the seventh time, the first time since the 2008-09 season.
The game tips off at 4 p.m. and will air on ESPN.
“We’re glad to be here,” UNC coach Courtney Banghart said to open her press conference on Friday afternoon. “It’s my 11th NCAA tournament and it just never gets old – the opportunity that awaits, the magnitude of the event … it’s a rainy day in Columbus and we’re glad to be here.”
Noting the rivalry
UNC and St. John’s will meet for the seventh time, with Carolina having won all six of the previous meetings.
• The teams have just one previous NCAA Tournament meeting, a first-round game in Chapel Hill in the 1984 tournament. That game, an 81-79 OT win for the Tar Heels, is one of just three times that UNC has gone into overtime in NCAA Tournament play. (Carolina has won all three of those OT games.)
• In the teams’ most recent meeting, UNC won 83-73 in Chapel Hill on Dec. 6, 2008.
North Carolina earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid for the third year in a row and is seeded sixth in the Seattle 3 Region.
• UNC is making its 30th NCAA Tournament appearance and is 49-28 overall with an NCAA Championship in 1994 and Final Fours in 1994, 2006 and 2007.
• Carolina is one of just seven schools, all of which are in this year’s field, to have been part of the tournament field 30 or more times. The others are Tennessee (41), Georgia (36), Stanford (36), Texas (35), UConn (34) and Maryland (30).
• UNC is playing as a No. 6 seed for just the second time in school history. The first was in 1985, when the Tar Heels fell in the first round at third-seeded Penn State in a 32-team field.
• Last season, North Carolina was a No. 5 seed and won two games in Tucson, Ariz., to reach the Sweet 16 for the 18th time in program history.
• The Tar Heels are 22-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in Chapel Hill and 27-27 in games away from home.
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