Air Force Opens 2013-14 Season at No. 12 North Carolina

    Senior Cherae Medina

    Senior Cherae Medina

    Nov. 7, 2013

    Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    The Air Force women's basketball team opens the 2013-14 season this Friday, Nov. 8, when it heads to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a non-conference match-up versus 12th-ranked North Carolina. The game is slated to tip off at 4:30 p.m. (ET) at Carmichael Arena.

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    Series History: First Meeting

    In their lone exhibition of the season, the Falcons pulled away in the second half to roll to a 74-48 victory over Western State Colorado on Monday evening.

    Air Force saw production from each player that stepped on the court, led by three Falcons who scored in double-figures. Senior Camille Thompson tallied a team-leading 15 points, while junior Jimi Blagowsky and senior Cherae Medina added 14 and 10 points, respectively. Meanwhile, freshman Sydney Graham led the team in both rebounds and assists, grabbing eight boards and dishing out five helpers.

    Air Force returns eight letterwinners, including five players who started at least one game, from last year's team which finished the season with a 4-26 overall record. Meanwhile, the Falcons also welcome 11 newcomers to the roster.

    Among the top returners for the Falcons this season are senior Cherae Medina and sophomore Missy Byrd. Medina, Air Force's top returning scorer from 2012-13, dished out a team-best 101 assists last season, while starting 24 games for the Falcons. Meanwhile, Byrd, who started 10 games, is the leading returning rebounder, averaging 3.5 boards per game last season while also shooting over 45 percent from the field. Also seeing time in the starting lineup last season were senior Camille Thompson and junior Jimi Blagowsky, who each started six games, while senior Michelle Ivey started one game.

    North Carolina, ranked 12th in the preseason AP poll and 11th in the coaches' poll, returns two starters from last year's team which posted a 29-7 overall record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels' leading returner is sophomore forward Xylina McDaniel, who averaged 11.3 points and 7.1 rebounds last season.

    The Tar Heels won both of their exhibition contests this season, downing Carson-Newman, 111-50, and Wingate, 93-61. Freshman forward Stephanie Mavunga registered 18 points and 14 rebounds against Carson-Newman, while classmate Allisha Gray was the Tar Heels' leading scorer against Wingate with 15 points.

    Air Force's game versus North Carolina on Friday is not only its first-ever contest against the Tar Heels, but it is also the first time the Falcons have ever faced a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The only current ACC member that Air Force has played is Virginia Tech; the Falcons and Hokies faced off in the 1991-92 season when Air Force was still a Division I program and Virginia Tech was a member of the Metro Conference.

    Air Force's contest against North Carolina is its first against a team ranked in the AP Top 25 since Jan. 6, 2010, when the Falcons hosted 25th-ranked TCU.

    Additionally, the Tar Heels are the highest-ranked opponent that the Falcons have faced since Dec. 29, 2001, when Air Force visited No. 8 Baylor.

    NEXT UP...
    The Falcons are back at home for their next three contests, starting with their home opener versus Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The game is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m. in Clune Arena.



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