After failing to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001, the North Carolina women's basketball team declined its bid to the women's National Invitational Tournament.
UNC finishes its season at 20-11 after the Tar Heels were skipped over in the NCAA tournament, which selected only four ACC schools. In the past nine years, the ACC has never received fewer than six bids.
"Obviously we are disappointed to not receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament," head coach Sylvia Hatchell said in a press release. "I felt like our performance against an extremely difficult ACC schedule and how we were playing in the last few weeks of the season would be enough to get us in, but unfortunately that's not how it worked out. I am most disappointed for our seniors, that they won't get a chance to fulfill their goal of having an opportunity to play for a national championship. They have fought hard all year in the face of all kinds of injuries and adversity and it's a shame that they aren't getting rewarded for that hard work."
UNC lost to Georgia Tech 54-53 in the quarterfinals of the ACC women's tournament in Greensboro. That turned out to be the final game for seniors She'la White, Laura Broomfield, Candace Wood and second-team All-ACC Chey Shegog.
Despite the Tar Heels not making the tournament, postseason basketball will still be played in Carmichael Arena. The arena will host first and second round games of the NCAA women's tournament on March 18 and 20, including No. 4 seed Georgia Tech.
UNC did not decline the bid due to any potential scheduling conflict, as a team spokesman said the Tar Heels would have traveled to play in the first round of the WNIT anyway.
Three ACC teams--North Carolina State, Virginia and Wake Forest--accepted bids to the WNIT. UNC went 5-0 against those teams this season.
Last year as a No. 5 seed, UNC took No. 1 Stanford to the wire, losing 72-65 in the regional semifinals. It was the deepest into the tournament the Heels had gone since going to four straight Elite Eights (including two Final Fours) from 2005-2008.
In October, Hatchell, along with men's basketball coach Roy Williams and baseball coach Mike Fox, received a contract extension through 2018.