But just like it’s been all season for North Carolina, the ball didn’t bounce the right way. The Tar Heels fell 93-57, in their worst loss of the season
Duke finished the game above 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range — but it wasn’t due of a lack of effort on UNC’s part.
“We try not to quit in the middle of the game, no matter what the scoreboard looks like,” said first-year guard Stephanie Watts. “We just give it our all and then fix what we need to fix for this game to get ready for the next one.”
The intensity from the Tar Heels was never more obvious than late in the first half, when redshirt junior Hillary Summers fought for a rebound and flailed to the floor as the ball was thrust high into the sweaty Carmichael air.
Players fought for position as an awestruck Summers lied on the floor — but the retreating ball ended up perfectly in her hands.
But even the luckiest of breaks couldn’t turn into points for UNC, as Summers turned the ball over on a risky pass from the floor.
Fortune simply wasn't favoring the Tar Heels all afternoon.
“In those moments, we just try to stick together and make sure we’re doing what we need to do,” Summers said. “Obviously, that was tough today.”
In its first possession of the second quarter, Duke settled for two contested jumpers and missed both — but the Blue Devils retrieved both rebounds.
Rebecca Greenwell, who led all scorers with 27 points, capitalized on the Tar Heels' rebounding woes and drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
It was that kind of day.
“They’re good,” Hatchell said. “But we helped them look good today.”
For Hatchell, these games are the ones that define what this team is going forward — both this year and in years to come.
“Any time you go through adversity, you have to understand it will make you stronger,” she said.
“You have to glean what will help you once you get back to the good times. And good times are coming.”