Virginia Hosts No. 3 North Carolina Friday Night
CHARLOTTESVILLE A week after playing No. 4 Maryland down to the wire in a tough road environment, the Virginia women’s basketball team will get a chance to knock off No. 3 when North Carolina visits John Paul Jones Arena Friday night. Tip-off is 7 p.m., and the game will be televised on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (Comcast SportsNet, Fox Sports Net South, Sun Sports, New England Sports Network) with Mike Hogewood and Debbie Antonelli calling the action.
Additionally, live audio will be available through V Pass and the game will air over the radio on the Virginia Sports Network (1070 AM in Charlottesville) with Jay James, Myron Ripley and Larry Johnson on the call.
Virginia (18-6, 6-2) is receiving votes in both national polls and faces its sixth ranked opponent of the year in No. 3 North Carolina. Over the course of its last 15 games, the only losses for UVa have come at the hands of then top-ranked Connecticut (Dec. 5) and two setbacks to No. 4 Maryland (Jan. 18 and Feb. 8).
One of the hottest teams in the nation, the Cavaliers are 6-2 in league play for the first time since 2004-05. Most recently, they knocked off Florida State, 77-58, Feb. 10 at home.
Virginia trails the all-time series with North Carolina, 41-31. The Tar Heels have been victorious in 10-straight meetings, and the last Cavalier victory came on March 2, 2003 a 69-59 win in Charlottesville.
Under head coach Debbie Ryan, Virginia has upset 42 opponents ranked ahead of it at the time of the meeting. When unranked, UVa has beaten a No. 3 team once in its history. That victory was on Jan. 17, 2000 against No. 3 NC State (80-73 in Raleigh, N.C.)
Sophomore Monica Wright (16.9 points per game) and juniors Lyndra Littles (15.8 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game) and Aisha Mohammed (12.5 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game) continue to stand out for the Cavaliers.
Senior point guard Sharne Zoll has emerged as one of the best point guards in the nation this season. She is approaching the ACC’s all-time assists record, and currently has 707 for her career. With 23 more helpers, Zoll will become the league’s all-time leader in the category (Dawn Staley is No. 1 with 729; Nikki Teasley is No. 2 with 728).
Zoll averages 5.75 assists per game and leads the league in assist/turnover ratio.
The No. 3 Tar Heels (22-2, 9-0 ACC) have five players averaging in double-figures for points, led by Rashanda McCants (15.9 ppg) and followed by LaToya Pringle (13.6 ppg), Erlana Larkins (12.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg), Cetera DeGraffenreid (12.3 ppg) and Jessica Breland (10.6 ppg).
Head coach Sylvia Hatchell is in her 22nd season at UNC and 33rd overall.
On deck for the Cavaliers is their second meeting of the year with in-state rival Virginia Tech. Sunday’s game in Blacksburg is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. and will be streamed live on ACC Select.