File photo by Orin Day
Both Duke and UNC are in the nation's preseason Sweet 16.
All three of the Triangle's ACC women's basketball teams should be very good again this season.
And if that sounds like a broken record, that's OK.
Duke (28-7, 12-4 ACC last season) comes into the campaign ranked No. 7 nationally in the AP poll, while UNC (27-10, 10-6) is No. 13 and N.C. State (25-8, 11-5) received the fifth highest number of points of unranked squads.
The Blue Devils are picked second in the ACC, the Tar Heels fourth and the Wolfpack ninth.
The campaign starts today at 4 at Carmichael Arena, when UNC takes on Howard (11-20) in Coach Sylvia Hatchell's first official game back after missing all of last season undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Wes Moore begins his second season with the Wolfpack tonight at 7, as Tennessee State (12-18) comes to Reynolds Coliseum.
Duke won't open until Sunday, when Joanne P. McCallie's Blue Devils visit Alabama (14-16) at 8 p.m. Duke's first two games are on the road before the home opener against Marquette on Nov. 23.
Duke returns All-America senior center Elizabeth Williams and has highly-touted rookie guard Becca Greenwell ready to go, but is dealing with the loss of five seniors including four starters plus the transfer of talented point guard Alexis Jones to Baylor.
The Tar Heels return three All-ACC selections in forwards junior Xylina McDaniel and sophomore Stephanie Mavunga and sophomore guard Allisha Gray, but are dealing with the transfer of Diamond DeShields to Tennessee.
The Wolfpack returns a solid backcourt of seniors Len'Nique Brown-Hoskin and Krystal Barrett and sophomore Miah Spencer, but must replace five graduated seniors including WNBA draft picks Markeisha Gatling and Kody Burke.
Hold the dates
Jan. 4 NCSU at UNC.
Jan. 22 UNC at NCSU.
Jan. 25 Duke at UNC.
Feb. 22 Duke at NCSU.
March 1 UNC at Duke.