Assistant Sports Editor
At the start of the North Carolina women's basketball game against Maryland on Saturday afternoon, UNC forward LaQuanda Barksdale was unconscious.
At the start of the second half, she was out of commission.
"She's had an allergic reaction, and she can't even see," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Her eyes are swollen shut."
Barksdale, a Naismith Award candidate, left the game with 1:04 remaining in the first half because she wasn't feeling well.
Her condition deteriorated in the locker room, from which she never emerged after halftime. She experienced swelling in her face and throat, was treated at Carmichael Auditorium and did not return to action.
Team doctor Tom Brickner diagnosed Barksdale with a general allergic reaction, the source of which was unknown.
Her eyes swollen shut or not, Hatchell should have given Barksdale a chance in the second half after the way she was shooting to start the game.
Barksdale took a commanding 10-0 lead on the Terrapins right out of the gate of the Tar Heels' 87-69 victory.
Point guard Coretta Brown penetrated and dished to Barksdale at the top of the key. She drained the jumper. LaQuanda 3, Maryland 0.
Candace Sutton tossed a lob to Barksdale in the paint. Baby hook shot. LaQuanda 5, Maryland 0.
"She's so versatile," Hatchell said. "She can make 3s. She can drive. She can put her back to the basket."
Brown found Barksdale open behind the 3-point arc on an inbounds play. Money. LaQuanda 8, Maryland 0.
"I didn't notice during warmups, but I found out during the game," Brown said. "She's hot, so we give it to her."
Barksdale got a shooter's bounce from the corner of the free-throw line. LaQuanda 10, Maryland 0.
Terrapins coach Chris Weller couldn't watch any longer. She called timeout at 16:36 of the first half.
"When it happened like that so fast it kind of put us back on our heels," Weller said.
"It kind of set the tone for the rest of the game really."
Barksdale was quiet the rest of the half before exiting permanently. She took just three more shots, making one, and added a free throw.
Despite playing only 15 minutes, Barksdale still led the Tar Heels with seven rebounds to go with her 13 points. She also swatted a layup attempt out of bounds and recorded a steal.
She is now averaging 18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest despite playing just one half against Maryland.
Barksdale played that half bruised and battered as well.
"Q has been banged up all week," Hatchell said. "Of course she's had this reaction, but she's had a sore ankle, a sore knee."
Fellow Naismith candidate and teammate Juana Brown was also banged up. She sat the entire game with a sprained lateral collateral ligament in her right knee.
Brown repeatedly left her seat on the bench and her view of the game in the second half to go to the locker room where Barksdale was being treated. The Tar Heels were able to take care of business without the duo, but their absences did not go unnoticed.
Said Hatchell, "We miss her and Juana."
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