The result of
Hatchell's alchemical experiment with speed and style is a high-risk,
high-octane, highly entertaining game. "I don't like it when people
stereotype women's basketball, and I don't like 40-point games," says
Hatchell. "I want it to be fun for the players and exciting for the fans. I
want people to say, 'I love watching your team play!'"
In fact she hears
that a lot. Memphis men's coach John Calipari phoned her the day after Carolina
won at then No. 1 Duke in January and said, "Your team plays like I want my
team to play!" Hatchell also hears from coaching friends who tell her,
"Y'all make me nervous. I couldn't coach your team. How do you stand it
when they get a little out of control?"
"Our style is
not for everybody," says Hatchell, "but it works for us."
"We're all having fun. The thing Coach Hatchell always says before we hit
the floor is, 'Play hard, play smart, play together, but most of all, have
fun.' And we do."
thing that makes some of Hatchell's coaching counterparts nervous: Her style is
irresistible to players. During a recruiting trip earlier this season Hatchell
sat next to the coach of another Top 10 team at a high school game. As the
fast-paced game ended, the other coach, whom Hatchell declined to name, said to
her, "Girl, you need to slow that team down. You've got every kid in
America wanting to play like North Carolina."