Diamond DeShields hopes to play
STANFORD -- North Carolina freshman Diamond DeShields said she will have to be strapped to a chair to be kept from playing in Tuesday night's regional final against second-seeded Stanford at Maples Pavilion, but the Tar Heels freshman star also acknowledged her status for the Elite Eight matchup is a "game-time decision."
"It's doing well, it's getting better," DeShields said Monday. "I'm doing treatments as time goes on."
DeShields, who averages 18.1 points per game to lead the Tar Heels, rolled her ankle in the early moments of Sunday's Sweet 16 win against South Carolina and later aggravated a previous injury in her left knee. In both cases, she was treated and returned to the game.
She finished with a team-high 19 points, and she made it clear she has every intention of playing against the Cardinal. DeShields said the team doctor will make the final call.
"If this is up to me, I'm playing," DeShields said. "They are going to have to basically take me down and strap me to a chair to stop me."
North Carolina associate head coach Andrew Calder said the team is prepared to play without DeShields, who set the ACC record for freshman scoring and was the conference Rookie of the Year as well as espnW's national freshman of the year.
"We are hoping she's going to be out there on the floor," Calder said. "If she happens not to be out there, we are prepared to play without her if that's the situation that arises. And we have other players that will need to step up and they can step up."