Then, following a missed Miami lay-up, UNC sophomore Brittany Rountree found Butts wide open to clinch it.
“Me and Brittany made eye contact, and I knew to be ready for the ball,” Butts said. “She did a good job of controlling the ball and making sure she didn’t turn it over, and then she saw me open in the corner.”
Avoiding turnovers was crucial. Sloppy play is becoming a tradition in the UNC-Miami series, as the teams combined Sunday for 56 turnovers. Last year’s game at Miami — a 61-37 Miami win — ended with 58 turnovers.
Butts played 21 minutes and recorded 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels in an effort to combat UNC’s foul trouble.
Senior Krista Gross fouled out with 2:04 remaining, and Xylina McDaniel, Waltiea Rolle and Rountree all had four fouls.
After Maryland’s stars dismantled a normally stout Tar Heel defense on Thursday, the Tar Heels neutralized Stefanie Yderstrom, who entered the game as the team’s leading scorer.
Yderstrom, who averages 12.9 points per game, shot one-for-13 and finished with six points and four turnovers.
She made her first field goal attempt — a 3-pointer to tie the game at 53 — with 4:09 remaining in the second half.
In her place, Miami senior forward Morgan Stroman exploded for a career-high 28 points and tied a season-best 13 rebounds.
“She’s so quick to the ball; she’s so athletic,” Hatchell said of Stroman. “In timeouts, we would say, ‘Can anybody box 32 out? Can anybody keep her off the boards?’”
But Stroman’s career game was in vain, thanks to Butts’ first career buzzer beater, which she knew was going in once it left her hand.
“We came back, and adrenaline was working hard,” Butts said. “It was just one of those feelings where you know it’s going in.”
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