MARTIN, Tenn. – It was announced tonight that the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Chapel Hill, NC on Sunday, March 23. The game will tip off at 2:05 p.m. CT at Carmichael Arena and can be seen live on ESPN.
The Skyhawks (24-7) enter the game as winners of 17 of their last 18 games, clinching a spot in their fourth straight NCAA Tournament with a 78-66 win over Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conference championship on March 8.
UT Martin is the only team in NCAA history to have two players rank first and second in their respective conference’s scoring history in senior guards Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome. Both players are four-time All-OVC first teamers while Butler was named the league’s Player of the Year and Newsome was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year. As a team, UT Martin ranks amongst the country’s best in scoring average (84.6 points per game, third), turnover margin (8.03, fourth) and three-point field goals per game (9.1, sixth).
Ranked No. 12 in Associated Press Top 25 and No. 13 in USA Today Coaches Poll, North Carolina (24-9) will enter the tournament as winner of three of its last four, with its only blemish coming against No. 10 Duke (66-61) in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Tar Heels rank fourth in the nation in steals (11.6 steals per game), 15th in scoring margin (+14.7) and scoring offense (80.7 points per game).
ESPNW National Freshman of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year Diamond DeShields paces a balanced North Carolina scoring attack. DeShields averages 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game to lead the Tar Heels. Allisha Gray (14.3 points per game), Xylina McDaniel (11.8) and Stephanie Mavunga (11.0) also average double-digits in the scoring column for North Carolina.