Learning and moving on
Posted: Wednesday January 05, 2000 06:01 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 9-3 and ranked No. 9 in the latest Associated Press poll. Check out Hatchell's diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
January 5, 2000
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Happy New Year to everyone! It looks to me like 2000 is going to be a great time to be involved with women's basketball. There's a lot of excitement surrounding the game and there are a lot of great players out there. I've been surprised at the parity I've seen this season. You don't see many of the lopsided scores any more. Mostly we're seeing a lot of really close games and some upsets.
This is the time of the year everyone focuses on conference play, and for us that means the Atlantic Coast Conference: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest and UNC. Every game is extremely important and every game is nip and tuck. When the games are so close, little things make such a difference. This is a fun time and it's what we've been working for. A lot of these ACC games are just incredible and we've got tremendous fans.
We had a great crowd for our game here on Monday night, which NC State won 79-72. They're playing well together, they shot the ball well and rebounded well against us. We were disappointed in our play, although we played better in the second half. It wasn't enough to win the game, though. We were disappointed by the outcome but we learned a lot from it.
This time of year, when we're playing so many games, we have to be very efficient in preparing for each one. As a result, the coaches stayed up half the night on Monday grading the NC State game film. We do a very detailed grading sheet: passes to the post, penetration dribbles, deflections, dives on the floor. We keep track of many things that stat sheets don't show. We grade and evaluate players after each game so they can see what they've done correctly and where their deficiencies were for that game. That's the way they get better. We take a lot of pride in the fact that we are a tournament-time team and we continue to improve throughout the season. We've played in six of the last seven NCAA Sweet 16's and we've won four of the last six ACC championships. The work we're doing now is what makes us ready for all of that.
The big thing this time of year is that you can't dwell on any past games -- wins or losses. You have to learn from every game and move on. You can't think about the last one too much because you have to re-group, re-focus and prepare for the next game. In our case, we'll face an outstanding Virginia team on the road Thursday night. They're playing really, really well and the game will be a challenge for our team. This time of year we expect that from every game.
We're off to Charlottesville ...
-- Coach Hatchell
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