Work in Sports
Women's basketball at its best
Posted: Friday March 10, 2000 01:11 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 18-12. Check out Hatchell's diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Well, it's tournament time and that's a fun time of the year, especially for the players. I always feel like we move to a different level when tournament time comes. We love the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament -- you win you move on, you lose you go home. It's extremely competitive and very exciting. It's just women's basketball at its best.
We feel like we had a good ACC tournament last weekend in Greensboro. We had a tough draw, starting with Clemson, a team we've played in the finals the last few years, and Virginia, which won the ACC regular season. We had close wins over those two teams to reach the final, where we lost to Duke by three. We felt like we gave it our all and barely came up on the short end of the stick.
We certainly weren't happy losing to Duke in the finals, but three weeks ago I was just praying for a winning season. Now, with an 18-12 record, we feel like we're definitely in the NCAA tournament. This team is playing as well as any team I've ever had, including the 1994 championship team. That's exciting for the coaches and the players.
The players are all having a lot of fun right now, loving basketball and enjoying practice. In my 25 years of coaching, I've had some great teams that, by this point in the season, just wanted to get it over with. They were close to being burned out or had reached the point when they were thinking, "Oh, not another practice." That is not the case with this team. They can't wait for the next chance to play.
I feel like we're peaking right now and hopefully our best basketball is ahead of us. We're having good practices, short but intense, and doing a lot of scrimmaging. After this afternoon's practice, the players will get the weekend off from basketball (their spring break starts on Friday) and I'm going to go watch some of the ACC men's basketball tournament in Charlotte and then go out recruiting. After Sunday evening, when we find out who we're going to play, we'll get back to work and be able to focus getting ready for our opponent and for our next opportunity to play.
-- Coach Hatchell