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Women's Basketball

Bear hug: UNC women’s basketball players celebrate their Big Sky Conference Tournament win on March 10 in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Rob Trubia

May 16, 2018

Blue Skies

It’s been a reach-for-the-sky year for women’s basketball at UNC. With a conference championship and berth into the NCAA Tournament, the blue and gold went above and beyond.

In October, the Bears were voted Big Sky preseason favorites by conference coaches and media, and the team didn’t disappoint. 

  • They finished the 2017–18 season with a 15-3 conference record and 26 wins overall (a program best).
  • They won their first outright Big Sky regular-season title with a 63-60 win over Portland State on Feb. 28.
  • As the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Reno, Nevada, they beat Montana and Idaho State before defeating the University of Idaho 91-69 for the Big Sky Tournament win and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
  • After the Big Sky Tournament win, Kianna Williams shared the team’s emotions when she said, “It feels great today and we knew we were a good team, but we still knew we had something to prove coming into the tournament and didn’t want to come up short.”
  • The team headed to Waco, Texas, March 16 as the No. 10 seed against No. 7 Michigan. In their first NCAA Tournament, the Bears fought to the end, with a 75-61 loss.
  • Even with the loss, the Bears walked away from the Michigan game with a program best overall record of 26-7.

Other 2017-18 highlights:

  • Ethridge was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year.
  • Savannah Smith, a junior, earned the Big Sky’s Most Valuable Player award along with her second straight All-Big Sky first team designation, and became part of the 1,000-points-scored club at UNC in January.
  • Senior Kianna Williams was named All-Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Savannah Scott, a senior, was named to the All-Big Sky second team for the second straight year, earned Colorado Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District second team honors and joined the 1,000 points scored club in December.