Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 01:54:48 -0500
Seven times this season, UNC has won when it has been tied or trailing at halftime, including a 10-point comeback against Maryland on Jan. 3 that ended in a Tar Heel win.
But Thursday night’s 85-59 loss to Maryland was also the seventh time this season that the Tar Heels failed to make a 3-pointer during a full half of play.
“We didn’t start out very well defensively or offensively,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.
“They got rolling. They shot 65 percent in the first half.” “
Sophomore transfer Erika Johnson hit North Carolina’s first 3-pointer — a bank shot from the top of the key — with 12:09 left in the second half, but by then the Terrapins had jumped out to a 55-37 lead that they would not relinquish.
UNC shot one-for-19 from the 3-point range on the night.
Maryland forward Alyssa Thomas recorded 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
And teammate Tianna Hawkins led all scorers with 25 points.
“They were shooting so well from the outside,” senior Krista Gross said. “We had to come out, and so it left holes in the inside.
Hawkins and Thomas entered the game ranked first and second in the ACC, respectively, in both scoring and rebounding.
The loss was UNC’s first since a 102-57 loss against Tennessee on Dec. 2.
The Tar Heels got into foul trouble early in the second half, as senior guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt was called for an offensive foul with 15:50 remaining in the second half.
Freshman forward Xylina McDaniel followed suit with her fourth foul less than two minutes later.
“Second half, we tried to heat it up a little bit and try to match them a little bit with as physical as it was and the intensity,” Hatchell said. “And all we could do was put them on the foul line.”
Ruffin-Pratt made nine free throws but shot 3-for-14 from the floor and committed six turnovers.
In addition to their struggles from deep, the Tar Heels got little help from the post. Center Waltiea Rolle contributed just two points in 24 minutes.
The Tar Heels held the lead just once, when a jumper by Gross capped an 8-0 run to give UNC an 18-17 lead with 9:39 left in the first half.
But the Terrapins responded with a 9-0 run of their own and never looked back.
Gross said Maryland’s sharpshooting rattled the Tar Heels — and they never recovered.
“Our defense has always been so good, so defense is what we relied on,” Gross said.
“Since they were shooting so well, it took us out of our comfort zone since we knew that was what our foundation was — defense. And then that kind of overwhelmed us.”
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