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Duke women's basketball drops Tar Heels in season sweep

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Women’s basketball v. Duke, Sunday.

With her team seeming to fall further and further behind archrival Duke with every possession, Brittany Rountree took the reins for North Carolina in the second half, electrifying UNC with her 3-point shooting.

But unfortunately for the Tar Heels, Rountree’s 14 second-half points were not enough, and the Blue Devils snatched the 69-63 victory to claim the series sweep and the ACC regular-season title.

“I thought we competed hard in the second half,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “I thought we did some good things. Brittany (Rountree) made some big shots for us, and we ran a couple of things at the end, got some really good looks.

“We did some good things, but you know, it didn’t turn out for us right.”

At the break, Duke held a 14-point lead against UNC and eventually stretched the lead to 17 early in the second half. It was then that the Tar Heels realized they did not want a repeat of the 40-point thrashing at the hands of Duke three weeks prior. Rountree used her momentum to give her team the much-needed boost.

“I realized that they were playing off me a little bit, so I looked for my shot,” Rountree said. “As I kept hitting, I realized I had the hot hand, so I kept shooting to try to get my team back in the game.”

Behind steady offense from senior Chay Shegog and Rountree, the Tar Heels were able to close the gap to four with 1:17 remaining. But it was little mistakes prevented them from getting any closer.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt drove the lane and attempted to dish it to a waiting Shegog, but instead threw it out of bounds with 27 seconds on the clock. The turnover returned the ball to the Blue Devils and forced UNC to start fouling.

Though Duke only hit two of six foul shots following the turnover, the Tar Heels could not generate any offense off the missed free throws.

“We fouled the right person and everything, but it just didn’t turn out for us the right way,” Hatchell said.

UNC may have lost both contests, but there were significant differences that kept this game more competitive.

For the Tar Heels, the first change was made before they even set foot in Carmichael Arena Sunday.

“Three weeks ago, we know we didn’t play how we could have played,” Shegog said. “We spent the time, we analyzed their team and this time we had a really solid game plan to try to beat them.”

UNC also adjusted its defense in the second half to man-to-man, preventing Duke from hitting its stride from beyond the arc. In the first meeting, Duke hit 10 3-pointers, shooting 50 percent from long range. Sunday, the Blue Devils only drained two of their 10 triple attempts.

But Duke proved that it could overcome poor 3-point shooting behind the frontcourt play of Elizabeth Williams and Haley Peters.

“It’s so important to be more than a 3-point shooting team,” Duke coach Joanne McCallie said. “Because some nights it just doesn’t go and it just doesn’t work for you. You want to be that great team that can defend and rebound.”

ACC

“The regular season is over and we’re still swimming and we’re swimming pretty strongly right now,” Hatchell said. “The hard part is hopefully over. We survived.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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