The North Carolina women’s basketball team blew a fourth-quarter lead Thursday night, losing to Wake Forest 80-77.
UNC (12-7, 1-5 ACC) started the game hot, making five of their first eight shots to take a quick 10-6 lead, forcing Wake (11-7, 2-3 ACC) to take a timeout less than four minutes into the game. Sophomore Stephanie Watts led the Tar Heels with 13 points, with three 3-pointers, in the quarter, but seven UNC team fouls sent Wake Forest to the line often, keeping them in the game at 29-22 at the end of the quarter.
UNC avoided the second quarter woes of their past two contests against Duke and Pitt, scoring 16 points in the period. UNC struggled with interior defense in the second quarter, giving up layup after layup as Wake Forest either shot over their defenders or got easy chances off of offensive rebounds, taking a 44-38 lead into halftime.
UNC committed four turnovers to start the third quarter, allowing the Demon Deacons unanswered chances on offense, which Wake Forest executed, draining their first three 3-pointers of the half to pull within one at the media timeout. UNC recovered from their struggles to rally on defense, holding Wake to 35.3 percent from the field in the quarter to take a 60-55 lead into the final frame.
After a Paris Kea jumper to open the fourth quarter, UNC went on massive dry spell, not making a field goal for over four minutes. This allowed Wake to take the lead at 63-62, its first lead since the opening bucket of the game. The fourth quarter continued to go back and forth, with Wake Forest ultimately making the final 3-pointer of the game to take a 78-77 lead with less than a minute left and sealing the win with a layup.