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North Carolina-Colorado Preview

Mar 23, 2003

GAME: No. 6 Colorado (23-7) vs. No. 3 North Carolina (28-5).
REGIONAL: Mideast, second round.
TIME: Monday, 9:19 p.m. EST.
SITE: The Coors Events & Conference Center; Boulder, Colo.

After barely overcoming a strong challenge in the first round, North Carolina faces a different kind of test when it meets Colorado.

The second-round matchup will be a road game for the third-seeded Tar Heels, who are among the teams that got penalized by the move to predetermined sites for the NCAA women's tournament this season.

This game would have been played at Chapel Hill under the old format.

The Tar Heels almost didn't have the chance to play the No. 6 Buffaloes. North Carolina needed a layup by Nikita Bell with 20 seconds left to beat No. 14 Austin Peay 72-70 on Saturday.

Bell scored the final four points for the Tar Heels, whose five losses all came against elite teams. North Carolina lost three times to second-ranked Duke, once to 2002 NCAA tournament runner-up Oklahoma and once to Virginia, which won its first-round game Saturday.

Colorado certainly looked like an elite team Saturday night, when it routed BYU 84-45. Kate Fagan scored 21 points, going 6-of-10 from 3-point range, as the Buffaloes shot 50 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc.

Colorado now needs to show it can beat a top team itself. The Buffaloes had at least one win against a ranked team for 12 straight seasons, but are 0-5 thus far this year.

The Buffaloes are 12-3 at home, including 6-1 against non-conference teams. Villanova, the second seed in this regional and the team that ended Connecticut's 70-game winning streak, is the only non-Big 12 team to win in Boulder.

Colorado is seeking a second straight trip to the round of 16. The Buffaloes reached the regional final last year before falling to conference rival Oklahoma.

Colorado and North Carolina have never met. The winner advances to the regional semifinals at Knoxville, Tenn.

Colorado - F Sabrina Scott, F Linda Lappe, C Tera Bjorklund, G Kate Fagan, G Maria Billingsley. North Carolina - F Jennifer Thomas, F La'Tangela Atkinson, C Candace Sutton, G Coretta Brown, G Bell.

Colorado - Bjorklund, 17.6 ppg; Scott, 6.9 rpg and 3.1 apg.
North Carolina - Brown, 14.6 ppg; Atkinson, 8.4 rpg; Leah Metcalf, 4.4 apg.

Colorado - At-large bid, Big 12; beat No. 11 BYU 84-45, first round.
North Carolina - At-large bid, Atlantic Coast Conference; beat No. 14 Austin Peay 72-70, first round.

Colorado - 16-10, 11 years.
North Carolina - 24-13, 15 years.