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Parker, Smith lead UNCW into Carmichael Arena

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Parker, Smith lead UNCW into Carmichael Arena

Shrita Parker (4)

Shrita Parker (4)

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Shrita Parker (4)

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Shrita Parker (4)

Lanre Badmus, Staff Writer

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The UNC Wilmington women’s basketball team has one more game before final exams it pays a visit to Chapel Hill’s Carmichael Arena to face North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon. The game is the first half of a doubleheader that concludes with the men’s teams of both schools facing off at the Dean E. Smith Center later on Wednesday night for a 9 p.m. tipoff.

The two squads

This will be the third all-time meeting between UNCW (5-2) and UNC (5-4) and a rematch of last season’s meeting between the two teams. The Tar Heels have won both previous meetings between the two, including an 86-60 victory at Carmichael Arena last year. However, they enter Wednesday on a three-game losing streak, including an 85-73 home loss to Maine on Sunday afternoon. Head coach Sylvia Hatchell’s team are led by sophomore center Janelle Bailey (16.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG), redshirt junior guard Stephanie Watts (14.6 PPG) and redshirt senior guard Paris Kea (14.2 PPG).

The Seahawks, meanwhile, go into Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. tipoff having won four of their last five games, most recently having put Fayetteville State to the sword 72-54 on Saturday afternoon. UNCW was led in that game by redshirt senior guard Shrita Parker, who led all scorers with 27 points to bring her totals to a team-leading 20.6 PPG this season. Redshirt junior guard GiGi Smith is second on the team with 14.4 PPG, and sophomore forward Paige Powell’s two double-doubles (averaging 8.3 points and 8.3 rebounds overall) also leads head coach Karen Barefoot’s team.

Key matchups

Bailey leads all ACC sophomores with 17 career double-doubles already in her young career. Look for coach Barefoot to place double teams on Bailey to limit her low-post efficiency. To do so, these doubles would likely have to have either one or both of Powell and senior forward Chinyere Bell on the floor together in a bigger lineup for the Seahawks. Powell has more than shown her rebounding capabilities with increased opportunity thus far this season but will have to keep it up a power-5 opponent on Wednesday.

Additionally, the battle between Parker/Smith of UNCW and Watts/Key of UNC at the guard positions will be one to watch. Both sets of guards are individually among the top two or three scorers on their respective teams, and both UNCW guards round out the top five scorers between both teams. Expect to see Parker’s defensive presence – she averages 3 steals per game – make an impact on the floor.

Afterward

Wednesday’s game will be UNCW’s last before a week-long break for final exams. On their return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 18, they will travel to another ACC opponent for a date with Pittsburgh. That game, which is slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff, will also be a rematch of last year’s meeting which Pitt won.

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Parker, Smith lead UNCW into Carmichael Arena