“It was a tough night,” Coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We started off missing a lot of shots. They missed a lot of shots early. I thought we could get some momentum going but we didn’t.”
The two teams combined to go 13-for-55 from the 3-point line and Syracuse pulled out the win after only shooting 27 percent from the field.
“You think if you hold a team to 27 percent you should win the game,” Hatchell said. “But that’s not what happened.”
The Tar Heels were plagued by turnovers, missed shots and Syracuse offensive rebounds.
“I know for a fact I should have went and rebounded more than I did tonight,” said sophomore Allisha Gray, who finished with six rebounds.
Thirty-six of Syracuse’s 61 points came off turnovers or second chance shots.
“(Turnovers) played a big role,” Gray said. “Any turnover at any time is crucial. I really don’t know. I just think that at some points we made a mistake we shouldn’t have made.”
Even though the Tar Heels didn’t play their best game, they still found themselves in a position to win the game.
Down seven points with 21 seconds left, all hope seemed lost for the Tar Heels, but just like that, they found life again.
Gray gave the Tar Heels a spark after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt and hitting two free throws. Two more free throws from Brittany Rountree brought the Tar Heels within three with 17 seconds left.
Despite the quick points, the Tar Heels still needed a Syracuse mistake to put themselves in a position to win.
It was Brianna Butler who would attempt the potential game-sealing free throws for Syracuse. The guard who shot 2-for-21 from the field had a chance to redeem herself. But she couldn’t take advantage, clanking both free throws.
In the closing seconds of the game, the Tar Heels put their faith in Jessica Washington, who air balled the potential game-tying 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the game.
“She was hitting them all game,” Gray said. “I mean, if I was that hot too, I would have shot it too.”
But before taking the Tar Heels’ final shot, Washington was just 2-of-7 from deep.
“At that point in time, all of these things were running through my mind,” Washington said.
“With time running down, we needed a three, so I shot it, but it was rushed and it came up short.”
It was a fitting ending for the team that missed 18 of its 3-pointers.
“Obviously I could have called a timeout or done something different,” Washington said. “I can learn from it though.”