Before the North Carolina women’s basketball team had even put a point on the scoreboard, it had committed four turnovers against Syracuse's press defense and had spotted the Orange 10 points.
But a 3-pointer by first-year guard Stephanie Watts stopped Syracuse’s run and sparked a gradual comeback for the Tar Heels, who seized a 77-73 victory on Thursday in Carmichael Arena.
Watts scored 10 of her 22 points in the first quarter to keep the Tar Heels (12-5, 2-0 ACC) within striking distance. She almost earned the first triple-double in program history, finishing with 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Watts, who has scored in double digits in every game during UNC's six-game winning streak, attributes her development to guidance from Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell.
“She’s always so intense, so you have no choice but just to rise to her intensity,” Watts said. “It just makes me a better player.”