Finally a full squad
Posted: Sunday December 19, 1999 06:29 PM
Sylvia Hatchell coached North Carolina to a national championship in 1994. The Tar Heels finished the 1998-99 regular season 24-6 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. North Carolina is currently 8-2 and ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll. Check out Hatchell's diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
November 17, 1999
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
We have just one more game before our holiday break, this Sunday against Michigan State at the ACC-Big Ten Challenge down in Myrtle Beach, S.C. I'm really looking forward to playing because we're finally going to have a full bench, which will be a nice change for us. In the last two games, we've only had nine players (out of 13) out there, but it looks like everybody will be able to play on Sunday. We've got a lot of things behind us now, as far as finals, the first semester and hopefully all these nagging injuries.
The players finished final exams on Thursday and the dorms closed for the holidays, so we headed on down to the beach. We always play there this time of the year and it's a highlight of the season for us. Myrtle Beach is almost a second home for me -- when I'm not in Chapel Hill, I'm usually down there -- and it's a tremendous environment and atmosphere for a pre-Christmas tournament. This year, not only are there college teams playing, but there's also a high school tournament going on. With all the shows and festivities and restaurants and shopping, it's just a nice place to be before everyone goes home for Christmas.
Additionally, we've always played good competition down there (Alabama last year and Western Kentucky the year before) and we expect the same this year. Michigan State is an outstanding team. They're great in transition and they play really good defense. And of course I remember the last game we played with them! In case some of you don't, we faced Michigan State in 1997 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and went into overtime before winning 81-71. We know we'll have our hands full on Sunday.
After Sunday's game, we're looking forward to a break. We don't play again until we host California on Dec. 30th, so the players will have about a week off and get to spend some time at home. Basketball is important but their families are more important. We just tell them to relax, enjoy their families and have some fun, just don't get hurt. No snow-skiing or ice-skating. And remember that they represent the University of North Carolina everywhere they go and in everything they do. After the break, everyone comes back with renewed spirit and with rested bodies and minds.
As far as my plans, my husband, Sammy, my son, Van, and I are looking forward to spending lots of time with our families. I don't know how much rest I'm going to get, though: Van, who will be 11 in January, is getting drums for Christmas. We've been renting a set for him, but we're going to go ahead and buy him some. I may end up regretting that decision, but I know he'll be happy.
On behalf of the Carolina women's basketball program, I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday. See you in 2000!
-- Coach Hatchell
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