CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern returns to the road this weekend as the Buccaneers begin their final road trip before the team breaks for the Christmas holidays, making the trip up to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff inside Carmichael Arena is for the afternoon matchup is set for 1 p.m.
The tipoff against UNC is the first of two games the Buccaneers will play on the road as CSU spans the state of North Carolina, taking on the Tar Heels on Saturday, while making the trip to Cullowhee, N.C., on Monday evening to take on Western Carolina. Tipoff between the Bucs and Catamounts is set for 7 p.m.
The Buccaneers look to offset their struggles on the road as CSU enters the week with an 0-2 record on the road this season, falling on the road to Savannah State and South Carolina in the month of November, while posting a 3-1 record inside the Buc Dome on the year.
Charleston Southern is also 0-1 against nationally ranked opponents, falling to then-ranked #22/#21 South Carolina in their season opener, struggling to hit from the floor against the Gamecocks in their season opener at Colonial Life Arena.
The Bucs outside shooting prowess will need to be on display this weekend as CSU will attempt to recreate their previous success in their last matchup against North Carolina, dating back to November 29, 2009, inside the Dean E. Smith Center.
On that night, four different Bucs players knocked down multiple three-point baskets for the Charleston Southern women's basketball team, and the Buccaneers hung tough with No. 4 University of North Carolina in an impressive 76-67 loss.
The game plan to stay with the Tar Heels was simple; shoot the lights out from behind the three-point line at any and all opportunities. CSU didn't waiver from the strategy, as the Buccaneers went 17-for-48 from behind the three-point line. Both marks are the most ever allowed by North Carolina in the then 33 years of the program.
If CSU is to recreate the night, the Buccaneers will need one of the top three-pointer shooters in Charleston Southern history in Erin Bratcher, as well as the shooting prowess of both DJ Fowler and Tatum Jarvis to attempt to take down the Tar Heels.
Bratcher is also among the team leaders with 10.2 points per game, sitting third in the Big South with 2.17 three-pointers made per game. For her career, Bratcher is in the top 10 in multiple categories including three-pointers made, attempted and percentage during her time at CSU. After leading the Big South in minutes played last season, Bratcher has been a consistent force out on the floor again, averaging 27.2 minutes per game for head coach Fred Applin.
Fowler leads the Big South Conference with a 65.9 percent field goal percentage on the season in leading the Buccaneers with 12.2 points per game. The left-handed senior also leads the Big South with five steals per game, which also leads all players in the NCAA Division I statistical rankings.
Senior forward Anicia Dotson is coming off of arguably her best game of the 2013-14 season this past week against UNC Asheville, with a team-high 14 points, her second double-digit scoring effort of the season. Dotson's athletic play on the year has put her at the top of the rebounding list for the Buccaneers, averaging 6.4 rebounds per game on the year.
Freshman forward Jarvis is also among the Big South leaders from behind the arc on the season, averaging 1.5 three-pointers per game, sitting in the top 10 in the conference in the category. She also is third among the Big South freshman in the scoring category on the season, averaging 8.8 points per game.
The Buccaneers will face off against one of the top scoring teams in the nation in the Tar Heels as UNC is paced by four players averaging double-digits in the scoring column paced by Diamond DeShields' 16.1 points per game.
Stephanie Mavunga is averaging a double-double on the year for UNC, averaging 14.0 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game, to go along with nearly three blocks per game in the post. Allisha Gray and Xylina McDaniel are also in double-digits with Gray shooting 15.3 points per game and McDaniel at 12.1 points per game on the year.
Gray is the team's leading outside threat, hitting 37.5 percent of her three-point attempts on the season, while Latifah Coleman is the team leader with 31 assists on the year to set up the Tar Heels' offense.
The Tar Heels are currently 1-0 on the season against the Big South Conference, topping Coastal Caroilna on November 21st, 106-52, behind 21 DeShields' points.
The trip to Chapel Hill is a return of sorts for two members of the CSU coaching staff as head coach Fred Applin and assistant coach Meghan Austin have both spent time on the UNC sidelines.
Applin coached at North Carolina from 1988-89, recruiting talents such as Sylvia Crawley, Tonya Sampson and Marion Jones in Tar Heel to wear Tar Heel blue. During Applin's time at UNC, the Tar Heels reached the ACC Quarterfinals three times, before improving in his final two seasons with a berth in the NCAA Second Round and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 to cap of his tenure.
Austin, meanwhile, lined up with the Tar Heels from 2005-2008, where she was a member of four ACC Championship squads, making two NCAA Final Four appearances with the team.