by Mike Potter
No. 11 UNC will look to avenge perhaps its toughest defeat of last season tonight at 7 as N.C. State visits what may well be a packed Carmichael Arena.
That game will start half an hour after No. 3 Duke travels for an always-tough road game at No. 21 Florida State where the top-ranked men’s team fell two nights ago. The Duke-FSU game will be shown live on FSN South.
N.C. State leads the series with the Tar Heels 50-40, winning a 74-63 shocker in Chapel Hill last season after the Tar Heels had won 81-69 in Raleigh in one of the better games of Italee Lucas’ career.
“I shouldn’t have to say anything to our team about that,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said of the Wolfpack’s visit. “Last year was a funny year for us. Last year we played well the second half at N.C. State and they played well in the second half over here. N.C. State is a very athletic team — they’re not that big, but they’re athletic. They play very good defense. They’re much better than their record indicates. And they always play their best against us.”
Tar Heel senior forward Jessica Breland said she’s been looking forward to this one for a while.
“To me that’s our biggest rival,” said Breland, who missed last season’s loss as she sat out the entire with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I don’t really think it’s Duke. Remembering (the Wolfpack) jumping in the middle of our court last year kind of builds things up for me. We’ll be ready to play and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly.”
Lucas also said revenge is on her mind.
“We definitely owe them after they beat us on our court last year,” Lucas said. “It’s definitely motivation for when we see them Friday night. We definitely want to get them back for that loss. … We just have to keep them in front of us and not let them get middle penetration.”
UNC will be a solid favorite, but the Tar Heels were also solid favorites last season.
“I remember my freshman year we played them pretty tight,” Wolfpack senior guard Amber White said. “But last year’s win was definitely one of the better performances of the teams I’ve been on here.”
Wolfpack freshman forward Kody Burke said she’s just anxious to play against the Tar Heels for the first time.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Burke said. “Growing up, I knew the ACC was a tough conference and North Carolina was a top team. I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s going to be really exciting.”
No. 3 Duke vs. No. 21 Florida State
[Friday, 7 p.m., Tucker Center]
Audio: WDNC 620.
Video: FSN South.
Records: Duke 15-0, 1-0 ACC; FSU 14-3, 2-0.
Coaches’ records — Duke: Joanne P. McCallie 413-170, 97-22 at Duke; FSU: Sue Semrau 247-169 at FSU.
Leading scorers — Duke: Jasmine Thomas 14.4; FSU: Cierra Bravard 13.8.
Leading rebounders — Duke: Krystal Thomas 8.0; FSU: Cierra Bravard 7.4.
Assist leaders — Duke: Jasmine Thomas 3.3; FSU: Christian Hunnicutt 3.8.
No. 11 UNC vs. N.C. State
[Friday, 7 p.m., Carmichael Arena]
Audio: WCHL 1360, WKNC-FM 88.1.
Records: UNC 15-1, 1-1 ACC; NCSU 9-7, 1-1.
Coaches’ records — UNC: Sylvia Hatchell 846-295, 573-215 at UNC; NCSU: Kellie Harper 124-86, 29-21 at NCSU.
Leading scorers — UNC: Italee Lucas 18.2; NCSU: Bonae Holston 15.7.
Leading rebounders — UNC: Jessica Breland 7.9; NCSU: Bonae Holston 8.5.
Assist leaders — UNC: Cetera DeGraffenreid 6.4; NCSU: Amber White 3.6.