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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels lose to Georgia Tech despite better ballhandling

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Women's basketball against Georgia Tech

Before it could get better, it had to get worse.

Much worse.

Ball handling issues have plagued the North Carolina women’s basketball team for much of the season, but on Wednesday night in Miami, the Tar Heels turned the ball over a season-high 35 times in a 61-37 loss to the Hurricanes.

While UNC wasn’t able to pull out a victory against Georgia Tech on Sunday, it did manage to hold on to the ball a bit more than it did against Miami, turning it over just 18 times and out-rebounding the Yellow Jackets 39-37 in the 56-54 loss.

Coach Sylvia Hatchell said limiting turnovers was a key point of emphasis in the days leading up to Sunday’s matchup.

“Well, we looked at it, and we talked about it,” Hatchell said. “But we were panicking and not making good decisions … as far as when to hold up and when to know that, ‘I got numbers, and I need to attack.’”

While the Tar Heels essentially halved their turnover total from Wednesday’s match against Miami, they still gave the ball away in some crucial spots.

UNC and the Yellow Jackets came into the game with identical records and the same No. 22 ranking in the AP poll, and for most of Sunday, they were neck and neck.

But with four turnovers in the final seven minutes, the Tar Heels lent the Yellow Jackets a helping hand as they went on a 12-5 a run to snatch the win at Carmichael Arena.

The Tar Heels had difficulty much of the game breaking through the stifling Georgia Tech press. They often found themselves scrambling to put together offensive plays as the shot clock wound down, and at times turnovers would follow suit.

That was especially evident in the opening minutes, as UNC gave up the ball four times, including two turnovers by point guard She’la White.

“Well, we knew Georgia Tech was a pressing team. That’s what they’re known for, so we knew we would have to execute with the press,” said White, who finished with four turnovers to just one assist.

“But we really didn’t turn the ball over breaking the press. It was more of once we got over to halfcourt, so we need to take care of the ball.”

After sitting out in favor of freshmen Brittany Rountree and Danielle Butts on Wednesday, White and Laura Broomfield were inserted back into the starting lineup in the hopes that they would tighten up the Tar Heel offense.

And while turnovers still did do some damage to UNC’s efforts, the group clearly did a better a job of holding on to the ball.

“Again, a lot of it’s decision making,” Hatchell said. “And that’s the real reason why I decided to go with experience.”

Contact the Sports Editor

at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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