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UNC Basketball: Women’s non-conference schedule released

The Tar Heels have a fascinating non-league slate ahead of them this season.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 18 Div I Women’s Championship - St. John’s vs North Carolina Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s becoming a fairly exciting era for the North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball program. A Sweet 16 finish — and a close loss to eventual champions South Carolina — two seasons ago, along with a couple good recruiting classes since have hopes high for this year and the years to come.

Another log was thrown on the fire of excitement on Monday when Carolina released their official non-conference schedule for the 2023-24 season.

There are a couple of big name matchups on there that were already known, but aren’t any less fun to see them. In the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge, the Tar Heels will take on perennial power South Carolina at home. A week and a half after that, they’ll travel up to Connecticut to the Mohegan Sun Arena to play UConn in the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase. Beyond that, they’re also set to play Oklahoma, who has a five seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, in the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte.

While we only know one — Vermont — of UNC’s opponents for their trip to Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase, the full bracket was set last week.

The biggest possible matchup during that run would be a championship game clash against Caitlin Clark and Iowa. The Hawkeyes played in the national championship game last season, where they fell short against LSU. Clark is the biggest name in the women’s college game right now and would provide a very interesting test for Carolina. Meanwhile in their second game of the event, there’s a potential for them to play a Kansas State team that’s made a couple NCAA Tournament appearance in recent years.

To start things up, as you might expect, UNC will open with a couple games against low majors as they ease their way into things. The season opener will come at home against Gardner-Webb on November 8th. There will also be games against Davidson, Hampton, Elon, UNC Greensboro, and Western Carolina — all in Chapel Hill — to round out the non-conference slate, ahead of what should be a tough ACC gauntlet.

A combination of returning stars like Deja Kelly, incoming transfers like Lexi Donarski, and high profile recruits like Ciera Toomey have UNC’s roster in a very exciting place going into 2023-24. Their schedule for this season will provide some fascinating tests for the Tar Heels this year.