Feeling right at home
Posted: Friday March 24, 2000 03:24 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 20-12 and the No. 5 seed in the West region.. The Tar Heels defeated Maine and Rice to advance to the Sweet 16. Check out Hatchell's diary every other week on CNNSI.com.
March 24, 2000
Well, we're happy to be here in Portland, Ore., at the West Regional. We felt like we started the tournament with our backs to the wall, going out to play at Santa Barbara, where UCSB doesn't lose very many games. We didn't start very strong in our first round game against Maine, but in the second half I thought we played really well.
Probably the biggest upset of the tournament so far was Rice beating Santa Barbara in the first round. I think Rice put everything they had into that game, and they were probably a little flat when we played them on Monday night in the second round. Our team stepped it up another notch and really started the game strong on offense and defense.
I think we're just getting better and better, definitely peaking at the right time. The players are having a lot of fun, our chemistry is outstanding. Our defense is getting better and better every time we play -- Maine scored 57 points against us and Rice scored 50, so our defensive efforts are really paying off for us. We feel fortunate to be in the Sweet 16 and very good about where we are now. We've got a major battle with Georgia ahead on Saturday, but they have been beaten this year and they've been beaten by teams that are a lot like us.
After playing in Santa Barbara on Monday night, we've had a couple of days to rest and relax and have a lot of fun. We've done a lot of shopping! We stayed in California through Wednesday and had a good flight from L.A. to Portland last night. Everything here has been wonderful so far. Being a Nike school, we visited the company headquarters today for a tour then practiced at the facility there.
It was fun to walk into the Nike store out here -- the first thing we saw was Carolina stuff. We've traveled across the country from North Carolina, but because of all the UNC connections, we feel right at home.
-- Coach Hatchell