And then she quickly added, “It was worth it.”
It was as if this frustration had been building all season and all game, finally bubbling over in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels now stand at 12-10 overall and 2-5 in ACC play, including five consecutive conference losses.
And after falling Sunday afternoon in Durham, Hatchell talked as much about next season as the current one in her postgame press conference.
“We’ve got nine new players coming in. Don’t count us out this year, cause we’re going to be fighting in every game we play,” she said. “But every day’s an opportunity for us to get better. And we are.”
One thing that needed to be better for the Tar Heels on Sunday was 3-point shooting. As a team, UNC shot 5-for-34 from 3-point range, with first-year guard Stephanie Watts — who came into the game shooting 30.1 percent from long distance — going 0-for-14 from beyond the arc.
The shooting woes for UNC were at their worst in the third quarter. The Tar Heels entered the period trailing 36-34 — 10 minutes later, they trailed 51-40. The six total points for North Carolina were its lowest output in any quarter all season.
It was an uphill climb, as UNC only has six healthy scholarship players. Watts, Bryant, Summers and sophomore point guard Jamie Cherry all played at least 37 of the possible 40 minutes. The fatigue and frustration became noticeable down the stretch, coming to a head with Hatchell’s technical foul.
But the players refused to use a lack of depth as an excuse.
“I just try to go out and do what I’m told to do, and just try to hit my shots,” Bryant said. “I don’t really think that much on it.”
Cherry, who played all 40 minutes, said she relishes the chance to never come off the court.
“Who wouldn’t like playing 40 minutes?” she said. “That’s everybody’s dream. I’m not complaining.”