Women's basketball: Notre Dame vs. North Carolina

Staff reports
ND Insider


WHO: Notre Dame (8-5, 6-3 ACC) vs. North Carolina (7-5, 2-5).

WHEN: Sunday, noon.

WHERE: Carmichael Arena, Chapel Hill, N.C.


RADIO: WQLQ (99.9 FM).

NOTING: The surging Irish shoot for their first winning streak of at least four games since the 2018-19 season. To get it, they’ll have to prevail in their first visit to Chapel Hill since their No. 1-rated, eventual national runner-up club of ’18-19 was shocked 78-73 by the unranked Tar Heels. ... Three days after transfer Dara Mabrey became the initial ND player ever to visit her former college team for a game, that coming Thursday at Virginia Tech, Destinee Walker will become the second when she goes back to Carolina. Walker did face the Heels last year in South Bend, helping the Irish to an 83-65 win with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal against one turnover. That pushed Notre Dame’s lead in the all-time series to 9-2. … This time around, most of the Heels’ main faces will be far less familiar to Walker. Four freshmen and a grad transfer are among second-year coach Courtney Banghart’s top seven players this season. … Overall for Carolina, 6-4 senior center Janelle Bailey is averaging 14.9 points and grabbing 8.7 rebounds a game; freshman guard Deja Kelly is at 11.9 points and 3.4 assists; Petra Holesinski, who was an All-Big Ten honorable mention pick last year at Illinois, is at 11.8 points and 27-of-74 on 3-pointers; freshman guard Alyssa Utsby is averaging 9.9 points; freshman Kennedy Todd-Williams is at 7.6 points and 5.8 boards; grad guard Stephanie Watts 7.3 points; and freshman forward Anya Poole 7.1 points and 7.4 rebounds. … ND pacesetters include freshman Maddy Westbeld (15.8 points, 7.5 boards), Walker (13.1 points, 38-of-43 free throws), Mabrey (12.2 points, 4.3 assists, 25-of-54 on 3s), Anaya Peoples (10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds), Sam Brunelle (7.8 points, 16-of-38 on 3s) and Mikki Vaughn (7.7 points, 1.8 blocks, 57.4% from the field). … This will be the second of five straight scheduled road games for the Irish — with the remaining three after Sunday all coming against ranked teams in No. 23 Syracuse (6-1) on Jan. 31, No. 1 Louisville (12-0) on Feb. 7 and No. 2 North Carolina State (10-0) on Feb. 15. … The Heels have lost three straight, but also own a head-turning 92-68 win over those No. 23 Syracuse Orange last month, and they stand 7-2 at home. The Irish are 2-3 on the road.

QUOTING: “At the beginning, it was a little more difficult for me, but now that I’ve settled into the position of knowing I have the ability to provide that spark for my team off the bench, I’ve kind of owned that.” — Destinee Walker, ND guard, on being a backup the last seven games after being a starter most of her college career. She’s averaged 14.3 points in 28.7 minutes over those seven games, after 10.4 in 26.4 as a starter this season.

— Anthony Anderson, Tribune Correspondent

Notre Dame guard Destinee Walker, a transfer to the Irish last year, will be visiting her old school when ND plays North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday afternoon.