By John Frierson
Four women’s basketball teams are in Chattanooga this weekend for the NCAA tournament, including three from the Southeast. But out of all the players on those four rosters, only one, Purdue University’s Chantel Poston, is from the state of Tennessee.
The 5-foot-10 reserve guard is from Milan, which is located about halfway between Memphis and Nashville.
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said she has “kin” in Tennessee, and the Tar Heels’ coach for the past 23 years went to college at Carson-Newman and earned her master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.
UCF doesn’t have anyone from Tennessee, but with six players from the Atlanta area the Knights might have the most family and friends in attendance.
“We wanted to be in this area, because of all the kids we have from the Georgia area and some of our fans being able to come,” UCF coach Joi Williams said. “Wherever they sent us we’d be happy, but the fact that we can have some familiar faces in the stands certainly can’t hurt.”
It’s UCF, not Central Florida
Third-seeded North Carolina’s opponent Saturday is the 14th-seeded University of Central Florida, or UCF — but don’t call the team Central Florida. The media was reminded of that prior to the Knights’ (they stopped being the Golden Knights a couple of years ago) news conference Friday.
The school’s naming preferences are not unlike the host University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s, which wants to be called either Chattanooga or UTC, and are the Mocs, not Moccasins or Mockingbirds.
The Tar Heels and Knights will meet at noon Saturday, followed by No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Charlotte in the second game, which will start around 2:30 p.m. Monday’s second-round game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell on being in Chattanooga:
“I’m excited to be here in Chattanooga; it’s a great place. I went to school in Tennessee at Carson-Newman and the University of Tennessee, and I used to play down here when I was in college years ago. It’s a great place, a lot of good people, and we’re excited about the opportunity to play.”
UCF coach Joi Williams on the Knights being in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999:
“This is an exciting time of year, any time you’re playing in March and able to participate in March Madness. I’m really especially proud of our team, at a very young age being able to experience this and having won a championship to get here, having earned the right to be here.”
North Carolina senior RaShanda McCants on being at the same host site as former Asheville (N.C.) High School teammate Danielle Burgin, a senior center for Charlotte:
“I’ve talked to Danielle and told her congratulations. Being here is kind of an advantage because I guess I’m used to it and it’s kind of like you expect (to be in the NCAA tournament). For Danielle, she said it was a great thing for her because she’s had coaching changes and she’s come through a lot of adversity and she’s such a great player and a great person.
“As far as possibly coming up against her in a game (the teams could meet in the second round), I think it would be a fun thing. I haven’t seen her in almost four years and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other in person.”
Purdue senior Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton on likely passing her coach, Sharon Versyp, on the Boilermakers’ all-time scoring list during Saturday’s game:
“I just feel great and honored to be on the list with such stellar athletes. I love coach, but it’s going to feel kind of good to pass the record.”
Charlotte coach Karen Aston on sophomore guard Shannon McCallum:
“She adds a whole different dimension in the transition game. She’s long and the more comfortable she gets, the better understanding she has on defense, I think the sky’s the limit for her as a defender. She doesn’t know that yet, but I think it is.”
For more NCAA tournament coverage, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...