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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels lost in transition

Laura Broomfield contests Tiffany Hayes
Laura Broomfield contests Tiffany Hayes

Connecticut’s women’s basketball team immediately took advantage of a first-play North Carolina turnover in Monday’s women’s basketball game in Carmichael Arena.

The Tar Heel mistake was quickly converted into an 8-0 run for the No. 2 Huskies, who controlled possession and circled the ball around No. 10 North Carolina defenders with ease.

“The transition buckets first half just killed us,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We were not taking good shots, and they were getting the outlet and throwing it to half court. It was a race to the basket, and I was trying to get some of our kids to charges and everything like that.”

Bounce pass after bounce pass found the Huskies underneath the basket, as easy layups continued to put up points for UConn. Connecticut continued moving the ball down the court past a slower Tar Heel squad en route to an 83-57 victory.

The Tar Heels’ defensive problems continued to shine through after intermission. A 12-0 run to start the second half mirrored UNC’s slow start to the game.

“We caught them on their heels a little bit,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “We put a lot of emphasis on how we start a game, how we start a second half, how we come out of time outs. I looked up at the scoreboard at one point five minutes or three minutes into the second half, and I was surprised myself.”

Although big stops were made by Tar Heel defenders — including a key block from Laura Broomfield that kept the Huskies from reaching 50 points in the first half — UConn responded with stiff defense of its own.

Despite out-blocking Connecticut 5-3 and earning just one less than the Huskies’ nine steals, the Tar Heels were unable to defend their opponent’s stacked offense and chip away at UConn’s lead.

“I guess zone’s probably the best thing to play them, but we’re not really a zone team,” Hatchell said.

UConn racked up 23 assists, eight alone from freshman Bria Hartley, as the Huskies’ constant motion humbled the UNC defense.

“The most frustrating thing was the stuff that we did rather than the stuff they did,” UNC guard Krista Gross said. “Like Coach was talking about — transition. Transition was bad for us. We weren’t getting back fast enough, and they got a lot of easy layups.”

But it wasn’t just transition plays that earned Connecticut’s points.

UConn turned to a versatile lineup to swing the ball into the hands of two key Huskies.

While junior Tiffany Hayes led UConn’s aggressive offense with 29 points, All-American Maya Moore was just three points behind with a double-double. With 11 minutes remaining in the game, the senior managed to escape a UNC double team to nail a pull-up jumper and then immediately rushed down the court to take a charge from UNC’s Cetera DeGraffenreid.

“When they’ve got five guards out there and they can all run every position, they cut so hard with backdoors and everything,” Hatchell said. “They cut so hard in all their offensive sets.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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