#33 North Carolina Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels
Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
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Year one of the Coach Courtney Banghart era did not go quite as hoped. The Tar Heels finished the regular season 16-14 and 7-11 in ACC play. A year earlier the Tar Heels snuck into the NCAA Tournament so there were some hopes that they could do it again. That appearance in 2019 was their first since 2015 though so UNC was not expecting huge things right away. But already the expectations are growing. Despite losing three double-digit scorers, Coach Banghart’s recruiting has fans in Chapel Hill excited for the future.
2019-20 Record: 16-14, 7-11
Coach: Courtney Banghart
Coach Record: 16-14 at North Carolina, 270-117 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Taylor Koenen, Guard, 14.7 ppg
Shayla Bennett, Guard, 13.3 ppg
Madinah Muhammad, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Leah Church, Guard, 4.1 ppg
Nia Daniel, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Janelle Bailey, Senior, Center, 14.5 ppg
Malu Tshitenge, Sophomore, Forward, 10.5 ppg
Kennady Tucker, Sophomore, Guard, 1.8 ppg
Jaelynn Murray, Junior, Forward, dnp last season
Stephanie Watts, Senior, Guard, dnp last season
Key New Players
Petra Holesinska, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Illinois
Deja Kelly, Freshman, Guard
Anya Poole, Freshman, Forward
Kennedy Todd-Williams, Freshman, Guard
Alyssa Ustby, Freshman, Guard
Ariel Young, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Michigan
Alexandra Zelaya, Freshman, Forward
Janelle Bailey and Malu Tshitenge are back to form one of the most dangerous frontcourt duos in the ACC. Bailey, a 6-4 senior, averaged 14.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Tshitenge is a 6-3 sophomore who added 10.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. The return of Jaelynn Murray, who missed last season with an injury, and the addition of incoming freshmen Anya Poole and Alexandra Zelaya will provide the Tar Heels with plenty of options in the frontcourt. The backcourt is where Coach Banghart needs to find a lot of new faces. Stephanie Watts is not a new face though. She missed last year with an injury and also missed the 2017-2018 campaign with another injury. Between though injuries, Watts averaged 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists during her junior year. If she can stay healthy, Watts will have a big senior season. Petra Holesinska averaged 12.6 points per game with Illinois last season and is a proven outside shooter. Ariel Young and a handful of freshmen will add some much needed options for the Tar Heels in the backcourt. Deja Kelly is one of the top recruits in this class and she could be a starter from day one. If those new pieces in the backcourt come together quickly, this is a North Carolina team that could pull off some surprises and has more than enough talent to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (35th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.4 (230, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.2 (152, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (205, 14)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (129, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.0 (124, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.9 (58, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (123, 8)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (104, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (18, 1)
Madness 2019 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#20 Deja Kelly
#73 Anya Poole
#74 Alyssa Utsby
#79 Kennedy Todd-Williams
#113 Alexandra Zelaya