Reenergized, UNC women's hoops looks for a resurgence

Mark Armstrong Image
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- No matter how extraordinary a coach is tactically, talent is what will put you over the top in sports.

With the No. 2-ranked recruiting class currently in the country, UNC women's basketball coach Courtney Banghart is well on her way. That's despite being on the job for barely more than one season.

"I think the energy that our staff has put into building important relationships within the state, and with surrounding the kids, we targeted the ones we wanted and we really put the time in and I also think as a head coach, I think it's the most important thing we do." Banghart said. "Everything from games to PowerPoints to any sort of way we could show our dynamicism as a campus, as a place, as a staff."

One of the jewels of that class in 2021 is from right here in the Triangle -- 5-star forward Teonni Key of Cary.

"A few years ago, no, they were not as high on the list, but after coach Banghart and her staff got there, it definitely changed," Key said. "It was just the environment, just the family feeling and Coach Banghart and her staff they're all such loving and caring people. They obviously will help me and everyone, they drive you to get where you want to be and where you need to be as a team."

Key is a particularly interesting recruit. Her big sister Tamari, who was also a 5-star prospect, is a sophomore at Tennessee.

"I definitely just wanted to, like you said, blaze your own trail and figure it out myself, and I'm sure we'll see each other, face each other in some games hopefully," Key said.

Before you can compete for national titles, you must win ACC titles. NC State accomplished that feat last year. Banghart wants a Triangle-wide resurgence.

"We have an obligation nationally to carry our brand and so does Duke and then probably more regionally, NC State, but we have an obligation to do that," Banghart said. "I don't think it was happening at the Duke or North Carolina in the last five years, the way that people expected, and so I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to the rivalries, and I'm looking forward to bringing our best version."