« Women’s Basketball 2020-21

Janelle Bailey

University of North Carolina
Communication Studies


Bailey is majoring in communication studies.


Bailey has shown a great deal of leadership during this challenging season. As the only senior on the roster, Bailey has consistently and patiently mentored a very young team that includes five freshmen.

An outstanding example of her team focus comes from the 2019-20 season, when teammate and friend Jaelynn Murray suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team’s final exhibition game. In tribute, Bailey switched numbers with Murray, wearing No. 30 instead of her own No. 44 to keep her friend’s jersey on the court for the season. (With Murray back on the court, Bailey is back in jersey 44 for her senior year.)


Throughout her career, Bailey has participated in service projects along with the rest of the team, including visits to UNC Children’s Hospital and clinics with Gigi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center. This season, in-person outreach opportunities have mostly come to a halt, but Bailey continues to be active as part of the team’s #EducateAndActivate campaign.

The team dedicated the 2020-21 season to advocating for and bringing awareness to a range of causes, with an emphasis on learning more about an issue and then taking action. Each week the team conducts a service project benefitting that cause. Examples: packing snack bags for local kids while learning about the issue of Food Insecurity and writing letters to memory care residents while highlighting Alzheimer’s Awareness.

Each Tar Heel has selected one of the causes to research and will present information to teammates during the designated week as part of the education focus. Bailey’s cause will be Mental Health and she’ll make a presentation to her teammates as well as recording an educational video for social media.


A starter throughout her four years at UNC, Bailey kicked off her career with a season that culminated in Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year honors. Bailey also earned second-team All-ACC honors as a sophomore and was named to the All-ACC first team following her junior season.

Prior to her senior year, Bailey was named to the Lisa Leslie Award (nation’s top center) Watch List for the third year in a row – in each of the past two seasons she’s been among the top 10 finalists for the honor.  Bailey also was selected for the Wade Watch list as one of 30 preseason candidates for the Wade Trophy, which goes to the national player of the year. It’s the second year that Bailey has been named to that list.

Nine games into her senior year, Bailey has 39 career double-doubles, second among all active players in NCAA Division I, and she also ranks among the career leaders in scoring and rebounding. With seven more rebounds, Bailey will become the 10th player in program history to pass 1,500 points and 900 rebounds. After that, Bailey will be on track to become just the sixth Tar Heel to pass 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.

The ACC Player of the Week on Dec. 21, Bailey is averaging a double-double in ACC play with 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds (through 12/20). Bailey is playing this year in the best shape of her life, losing 25 pounds over the offseason.