As North Carolina fell to No. 21 Miami, Xylina McDaniel watched from the sideline.
The senior forward suffered a season ending injury when she tore her ACL and meniscus in her right leg against Georgia Tech on Thursday. With their leader stuck on the bench, the Tar Heels lost to the Hurricanes 76-61 in Carmichael Arena on Sunday.
The Tar Heels (12-8, 2-3 ACC) were able to keep pace with the Hurricanes (17-2, 5-1 ACC) at first, primarily through a strong rebounding effort as players stepped up to compensate for the loss of McDaniel. In the first half, North Carolina outrebounded Miami 24-17. Senior guard N'Dea Bryant and redshirt junior forward Hillary Summers led the Tar Heels in the rebounding battle. Both Bryant and Summers earned double-doubles in the game.
But as the second half went on, fatigue got the best of the Tar Heels. They allowed Miami to take over the glass and claim 26 rebounds in the second half.
McDaniel’s absence became more and more evident as the clock ticked on. Without her physical toughness and leadership on the court, North Carolina began to make errors and Miami was quick to capitalize.