As woefully as her team shot from behind the 3-point arc in its two opening tilts of the season, Brittany Rountree said the confidence within North Carolina’s locker room did not waver.
“I have good coaches and good teammates encouraging me to keep shooting, and we just keep looking for each other,” the sophomore guard said.
The Tar Heels’ drought from beyond the arc ended in a deluge during Wednesday night’s 63-48 win against Georgetown. The Tar Heels drained 10 3-pointers — nine more than their previous two games combined.
Rountree paced the Tar Heels’ 3-point barrage by burying six triples, while Megan Buckland provided a welcome spark off the bench by sinking three of six shots from long range.
Buckland, a redshirt freshman shooting guard, recently distinguished herself in practice and shows signs of becoming a worthy 3-point complement to Rountree.
“She was a great shooter in high school,” Sylvia Hatchell said. “She’s worked really hard, and in the last, probably week or 10 days in practice, she’s been knocking them down.”
UNC hoisted 28 attempts from the arc against the Hoyas, deploying a perimeter-centric attack to offset Georgetown’s stifling defense.
The Hoyas collapsed in the paint, erecting a barricade to the lane while allowing open looks to the Tar Heels, who happily obliged by sinking most of their uncontested shots.
“You make ‘em, we take ‘em,” Hatchell said. “And they had to spread out because (Georgetown was) really packing it back in.”
At times, Hatchell said, Georgetown swarmed the UNC ball handler with five defenders, allowing the Tar Heels to exploit holes in the Hoyas’ lopsided defense.
“I think it helped some that we set up and were able to swing the ball back and forth quick,” senior guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt said.
Adapting to the logjam of Hoyas in the paint, UNC capitalized on perimeter play in a sharp departure from its first two wins against Davidson and Duquesne, teams that protected the 3-point arc more tenaciously than Georgetown.
“It was more outside shooting and not really much inside the paint,” Ruffin-Pratt said of the contrast between Georgetown’s defensive structure and that of Davidson and Duquesne.
And while those earlier anemic 3-point performances might have presented significant cause for concern, Hatchell expressed the same faith in her team to which Rountree attested to.
“We have some really good three-point shooters,” Hatchell said.
“I knew it would come eventually.”
Contact the desk editor at email@example.com.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.