UNC Women's Basketball to face No. 1 seed South Carolina in Round of 32

The UNC women's basketball program will get another crack at the sport's top team, as they are set to match up with South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State v North Carolina
Michigan State v North Carolina / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

The UNC women's basketball program survived and advanced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but will face an even tougher challenge on Sunday afternoon in the Round of 32.

Sunday, March 24, 2024. 33-0. . 20-12. ABC . 533. 1:00 PM EST. 441. SC UNC

These two teams are familiar with each other, as they previously matched up in Chapel Hill during non-conference play. South Carolina left Chapel Hill with a 65-58 victory, but the Tar Heels hope that they can pull off a massive upset on Sunday against the nation's last remaining unbeaten squad.

Although the Tar Heels put up a strong fight in the original matchup, North Carolina's roster won't feature the same depth this time around. Kayla McPherson, Paulina Paris and Reniya Kelly all played in the original meeting, but will all be sidelined this time around.

Can the Tar Heels find a way to spoil a special season for the Gamecocks to advance to the Sweet 16?

Key to Victory for North Carolina

Against an elite team, you almost have to play a perfect game to win, especially when competing on their home court.

All the Tar Heels can do is come out and be ready for a fight. If the Tar Heels can string together a strong defensive effort, it's very possible that this can be a close game throughout.

The difference will be whether the Tar Heels can put the ball in the basket, especially in the post. Maria Gakdeng and Alyssa Ustby need to get going early, as it opens up opportunities along the perimeter.

After struggling a bit in the UNC women's basketball program's opening round game, expect Deja Kelly and Lexi Donarski to be better in this one. Offensive contributions from both could go a very long way as the Tar Heels look to secure a major victory.

Something to Watch For

Free throw shooting almost came back to haunt the Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament opener, as they missed 10 of 18 free throw attempts.

They got away with it against a solid Michigan State team, but it will come back to haunt them if they do that against South Carolina.

Look for the Tar Heels to find ways to get to the free throw line, but capitalizing on those opportunities will make the difference. In a close game, the better free throw shooting team has the advantage, as North Carolina hasn't proven this year that they can knock down their attempts consistently.

Projected Starters

No. 1 Alyssa Ustby (Sr. 6-1) 12.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.6 apg
No. 5 Maria Gakdeng (Jr. 6-3) 9.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 0.5 apg
No. 20 Lexi Donarski (Gr. 6-0) 10.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.3 apg
No. 24 Indya Nivar (So. 5-10 ) 6.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
No. 25 Deja Kelly (Sr. 5-8) 16.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.4 apg