#7 North Carolina Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels

Overall Rank: #7
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
#7 North Carolina Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview
North Carolina Team Page


Much like the North Carolina men’s programs of the past, the Tar Heel women found the way to another very successful season. North Carolina racked up 27 victories and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament before it fell to Stanford in a close contest. With only one player gone from last year’s squad and the addition of a top 50 freshman, the Tar Heels shouldn’t lose too much on the court. Will North Carolina have what it takes to get an Atlantic Coast Conference title to Chapel Hill or will the Tar Heels let it slip away to a hated rival?

2013-14 Record: 27-10, 10-6
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sylvia Hatchell
Coach Record: 541-205 at North Carolina, 907-321 overall

North Carolina returns four of the five starters from last year’s team, which should be enough to overcome the loss of top scorer Diamond DeShields (more on that later). Stephanie Mavunga and Danielle Butts, who had over 50 percent field goal shooting, are both back for another season. Butts, Allisha Gray and Xylina McDaniel all shot over 40 percent from behind the three-point line, so shooting the ball should not be an issue. While DeShields will be missed, it is worth noting she had about one-fifth of the team’s turnovers. The bottom line? Even though DeShields averaged 18 points per game, the other stats are just as important and the Tar Heels will be just fine. The addition of freshman Jamie Cherry will balance out the loss in the long run, although she may not start this season.

DeShields averaged about a quarter of her team’s 78 points per game, so North Carolina will have to overcome that loss. It will also have to get better at the free-throw line, as opponents averaged 70.5 percent to North Carolina’s 67 percent. The other thing North Carolina needs to do is win more at home. The Tar Heels went 11-5 in home games, but they were just 4-4 in ACC action in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have to perform better in games that count. Other than that, anything else would be nitpicky. The Tar Heels reached the Elite Eight and ended up with a loss to Stanford in the regional finals. There isn’t much to pick apart here.

Final Projection:
How well the Tar Heels do in the long run could depend on Cherry, an in-state standout and 2014 Parade All-American and AP Player of the Year for the state. Cherry scored 3,210 points, the second-most in state history. She could see some starting action thanks to games like the second round of her state playoffs, where she drained 12 three-pointers and finished with 52 points. Cherry’s addition will be a plus for this team, and the nice thing is the Tar Heels can break her in right away or put her in gingerly because it has so much talent. Look for North Carolina to be among the top ACC teams once again, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this team challenge for another bid to the Final Four.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Allisha Gray, Sophomore, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Danielle Butts, Senior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Jamie Cherry, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Xylina McDaniel, Junior, Forward, 11.3 points per game
Stephanie Mavunga, Sophomore, Forward, 10.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.8 (21st in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (125, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.4 (32, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.0 (36, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (117, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.2 (132, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (234, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (82, 8)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (68, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 16.9 (238, 12)


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