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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's basketball clipped by Boston College Eagles for fourth straight loss

Laura Broomfield goes up for a shot in UNC’s 69-62 loss to Boston College. DTH/Jessey Dearing
Laura Broomfield goes up for a shot in UNC’s 69-62 loss to Boston College. DTH/Jessey Dearing

It took only one play.

One play with less than a minute to go and four seconds remaining on the shot clock.

The play summed up North Carolina’s season, the utmost maxim in UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell’s basketball repertoire, and everything that could have been this year if the Tar Heels consistently followed her words.

It all started when Boston College’s Mickel Picco let loose a prayer from distance and BC forward Stefanie Murphy grabbed the resulting rebound.

Murphy immediately tossed this gift — a Picco airball — back over her head just as the shot clock expired. Somehow it went in.

It was a blow North Carolina couldn’t recover from. So for the fourth straight game the Tar Heels fell. This time to BC, 69-62.

“It’s like I’m in a nightmare,” Hatchell said. “Losing two games in a row at home, I don’t know when that’s ever happened to us.”

The reasons?

Well, it could be her juniors, Cetera DeGraffenreid and Italee Lucas. Once again, both underperformed. They shot a combined 8-for-22.

In the postgame press conference, Hatchell pointed to two crucial free throws that DeGraffenreid missed and even mentioned that the pair’s leadership roles have been taken away.

“I’m telling them, ‘Just play like you used to,’” Hatchell said.

It could be the omnipresent rebounding issue. Once again, the Tar Heels (16-7, 4-5 ACC) fell in this category, 43-39. More importantly, however, the Eagles (14-10, 5-4 ACC) turned 18 offensive rebounds into 25 points. UNC? Just nine.

It might just be North Carolina’s slow starts. This time, UNC fell behind 15-4 early and only took its first lead with just under a minute to go in the first half. Against Duke last game, the Tar Heels never led.

Whatever it is, Hatchell couldn’t be more frustrated.

“It’s like a bad dream. I just never thought — that where we are right now, what happened to us tonight — I just never thought that would happen to one of our teams,” Hatchell said. “A lot of it has to do with pride. Maybe that’s something we have to learn.”

After trailing by a large margin early, North Carolina rallied in the first half with six points from sophomore Chay Shegog along with three huge blocks from Waltiea Rolle.

Rolle, a freshman, started the game for UNC, and at the 10:22 mark, she made her presence known with a key swat off the backboard.

By half’s end, a She’la White 3-pointer and a Shegog layup at the buzzer gave the Tar Heels a 34-31 advantage.

But they couldn’t hold it.

Boston College guard Kerri Shields rattled in a three at the 16:26 mark. Picco did the same later on. And with three minutes remaining in the game, BC led by seven.

The Eagles were gathering every loose ball in sight, including a layup by Murphy after she missed a jumper with 2:09 left in the second half.

“We just don’t have the intensity level on offense or defense,” Hatchell said. “That’s what I’m disappointed in most: our intensity.”

White continued her coach’s thoughts.

“Like coach said, just playing with more heart,” White said of fixing UNC’s woes.

North Carolina cut the deficit to four after a White three-pointer with 1:25 remaining. But Murphy’s miraculous shot proved timely, killing any hope of winning.

“We’re not taking pride on our home court,” Hatchell said. “I’m really, really disappointed in that. I’ll take the responsibility for it, and I’m going to do something about it.”

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