fulfill your destiny; Into the top 10 ^ North Carolina

fate of Adam
(Photo: Mike Mattina/NCAA Photos, Getty)

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Getting into the college game and trying to find your place on the team isn’t as seamless a transition as it might seem. When former four-star recruit Destiny Adams found her role on a team already full of seasoned talent, she wasn’t sure what she could bring to the team.

The presence of these women didn’t intimidate Adams, but rather motivated her to stay focused, get down to business, and prove why she deserved a place on the team.

“I think the most growth I needed was mental growth,” Adams told reporters after the team’s win over South Carolina State on Nov. 16. “I had a lot of confidence issues, so I trained with the coaches here every day. They pushed me and encouraged me and when I got home I trained a lot with my dad and he helped me regain the confidence I always knew I had.”

As a freshman last season, Adams averaged 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds and appeared in 28 of the team’s 32 games. Despite the doubts, Adams finally got a chance to show her growth when she made her first career start with the Tar Heels against SC State last Wednesday – and she didn’t disappoint.

The sophomore made a big contribution against the Bulldogs, surpassing her previous 10-point total by scoring 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting. She also came within striking distance of her first double-double as a tar heel and posted a career-high eight boards.

Given the praise from head coach Courtney Banghart, you’d never guess that confidence was an issue for the Manchester, NJ native.

“She’s like our Dennis Rodman,” Banghart said. “She comes into this game with a lot of fearlessness, she’s gotten so much better positionally and offensively and we’ve got her more on the basket. She had a really good offseason, so Destiny 2.0 is definitely better than Destiny 1.0.”

The first start made it clear that Adams has found her spark and proves that this is just a glimpse of her potential. As Adams continues to gain a foothold in the team, one can expect a significant role in future competitions.

“I’m really proud of myself for all the work I’ve put in and for the support from the coaches, my teammates and my family,” said Adams.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

North Carolina 93, State of South Carolina 25

South Carolina State came 3-0 to Chapel Hill after season-opening losses in East Carolina, Queens and St. Thomas, and Wednesday afternoon’s score at Chapel Hill was essentially the same.

After missing her entire first UNC season, redshirt freshman Teonni Key was finally able to don a North Carolina jersey — and she came to play. In her 19-minute collegiate debut, Key averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. It hasn’t been an easy journey for the former five-star recruit, who was ranked No. 9 in the nation in her recruiting class. Key was included in the 2021 ACC Newcomers Watchlist before suffering a serious knee injury in the preseason.

“I was excited to be back out there with the team and it just shows that all the hard work has paid off,” Key said.

The Tar Heels set a school record with just one point in the first quarter. They managed to confine the Bulldogs to single digits in three of the four quarters. In 21 minutes of play, junior Alyssa Ustby had 14 points and 10 boards for her second double-double of the season. Eva Hodgson also hit double digits with 10 points and added eight assists as a team best.

UNC shot 43.9 percent from the field (36-82), 25 percent from the 3-point line (7-28), and 70 percent from the free throw line (14-20).

North Carolina 75, James Madison 65

Carolina won the first game of this home game series on December 3, 2021 in Chapel Hill with 93:47. This season’s second leg in Harrisburg, Virginia proved more competitive. The Tar Heels faced their first real road challenge of the season against the Dukes on Sunday afternoon, trailing 34-30 at halftime.

Guard Deja Kelly came out of the half motivated and scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half as the North Carolina offense got into a rhythm and pulled away. Eva Hodgson and Alyssa Ustby contributed 18 and 15 points respectively.

UNC shot 39.3 percent from the field (24-61), 33.3 percent from the 3-point line (6-18), and 75.9 percent from the free throw line (22-29) for the win.

COACH QUOTES by COURTNEY BANGHART

About playing for the kids: “Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve always wanted to host a game on the school day, and I thought this was a place that really infused community. We are building the next generation of women and the next generation of sports fans and goal fans. It was great to be able to play in front of those screaming kids, that’s what today was about.”

On Destiny Adams: “If you ask her about her stats, she’ll never know, all she cares about is winning. As a coach, you can trust that and stand behind it. She needs to be a lot better on the ball in terms of ball handling and things like that, which she’s going to do because she sees more time on the ground, that spurs her on to keep developing.

On Teonni key: “Stay tuned for Teonni and be patient. A two-way player, she influences the game on both sides, plays with good energy and is still learning. Every minute she plays will make her better. I think she has great length and she can move her feet and she has good timing so she’s a good primary and secondary defender. We’re developing our depth and the injuries allow for that opportunity, so it’s been helpful and we’re taking advantage of it every day.”

LOOKING AHEAD

Nov. 24 – vs. Oregon – 5 p.m./ACCNX

Nov. 27 – vs. Iowa State or Michigan State – 1pm or 7:30pm

North Carolina climbed to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 poll this week, marking UNC’s return to the top 10 for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

The Tar Heels will be tested this week on their trip to Portland, Oregon for the Phil Knight Invitational, where they will face 18th-ranked Oregon on Thanksgiving Day.

The Ducks (3-0) reached the Sweet 16 in 2021 and were ranked No. 5 in the tournament in 2022 before losing to Belmont in the first round. UNC is 1-1 all time against the Ducks. The two teams shared a home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015, with the road team winning each time.

North Carolina then meets either No. 5 Iowa State or Michigan State to conclude the tournament.

UNC info
Schedule
Roster & Bios
statistics

Oregon information
Schedule
Roster & Bios
statistics

Information on Carolina Women’s Basketball tickets can be found here here.

Source