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Two marquee names in collegiate basketball -- the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina -- will square off against the Old Dominion women's and men's squads respectively to open the university's new Constant Convocation Center this fall. The games will highlight a series of Grand Opening events that week as the University officially unveils its new 8,600-seat arena.

The Lady Monarchs will meet Virginia's Lady Cavaliers on Friday, Nov. 22, while the men will meet the Tar Heels of North Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 24.

"The official opening of the inaugural season in the Constant Center is a special time in the history of Old Dominion athletics," said Athletic Director Jim Jarrett. "The universities of Virginia and North Carolina offer outstanding competition for these opening games, and I personally look forward to a sellout, exciting atmosphere and great basketball."

The Lady Monarchs and Lady Cavaliers have not played since the 1999-2000 season, with ODU holding a 16-9 lead in the series. The Lady Monarchs won that last meeting on an 86-65 victory in the ODU Fieldhouse.

"It only seems fitting that the University of Virginia, one of our longest traditional rivals in ODU women's basketball history, should help us open our new arena," said Wendy Larry, Lady Monarch head coach. "We're excited about having them on our schedule and being part of what will be a memorable night."

The Monarchs and North Carolina have met five times, with the last Tar Heel appearance in Norfolk in 1995. North Carolina owns a 5-0 record in the series.

"We are indebted to Dr. Jarrett and the University of North Carolina for putting this game together," said Monarch head coach Blaine Taylor. "This game will be a spectacular way to begin the men's basketball experience in our new arena, and I'm sure it will a day our fans and the Hampton Roads community to remember for a long time."

Two rising seniors on the men's basketball team hail from the state of North Carolina and are enthusiastic about opening opponent.

"What a story book game," noted Rasheed Wright, a rising senior from Greensboro. "To start my senior off by playing the University of North Carolina in the opening game in the Convocation Center -- well It just doesn't get any better than that."

Rising senior Ricardo Marsh of Mebane added, "Playing North Carolina is a great way to start our new history in the Convocation Center. I have always wanted to play UNC and now I will have that opportunity."

Season tickets for both squads' 2002-03 campaigns in the Constant Center are on sale now and available by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 683-4444.

This article was posted on: June 4, 2002

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