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The Daily Tar Heel

Hatchell erupts in UNC women's basketball loss to Duke

The UNC women's basketball team loss to Duke Sunday afternoon 55 to 71 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The UNC women's basketball team loss to Duke Sunday afternoon 55 to 71 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

At that moment — in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina women’s basketball team’s 71-55 loss to archrival Duke — UNC’s coach had had enough. As redshirt junior forward Hillary Summers bounded toward the basket, she drew some contact, threw up a shot and looked toward the referee.

When no whistle came, Hatchell launched into a fit of rage that found her at least 10 steps onto the court, as the Blue Devils (15-6, 4-3) took the ball the other way.

As she strode onto the court, her face beet red while she screamed at the top of her lungs, Hatchell collided with referee Bruce Morris — who promptly blew his whistle for a technical foul against Hatchell.

“I wasn’t trying to hit him or anything,” Hatchell said. “I was trying to get his attention, because obviously I thought we were getting fouled. But that was OK.”

And then she quickly added, “It was worth it.”

It was as if this frustration had been building all season and all game, finally bubbling over in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels now stand at 12-10 overall and 2-5 in ACC play, including five consecutive conference losses.

And after falling Sunday afternoon in Durham, Hatchell talked as much about next season as the current one in her postgame press conference.

“We’ve got nine new players coming in. Don’t count us out this year, cause we’re going to be fighting in every game we play,” she said. “But every day’s an opportunity for us to get better. And we are.”

One thing that needed to be better for the Tar Heels on Sunday was 3-point shooting. As a team, UNC shot 5-for-34 from 3-point range, with first-year guard Stephanie Watts — who came into the game shooting 30.1 percent from long distance — going 0-for-14 from beyond the arc.

The shooting woes for UNC were at their worst in the third quarter. The Tar Heels entered the period trailing 36-34 — 10 minutes later, they trailed 51-40. The six total points for North Carolina were its lowest output in any quarter all season.

It was an uphill climb, as UNC only has six healthy scholarship players. Watts, Bryant, Summers and sophomore point guard Jamie Cherry all played at least 37 of the possible 40 minutes. The fatigue and frustration became noticeable down the stretch, coming to a head with Hatchell’s technical foul.

But the players refused to use a lack of depth as an excuse.

“I just try to go out and do what I’m told to do, and just try to hit my shots,” Bryant said. “I don’t really think that much on it.”

Cherry, who played all 40 minutes, said she relishes the chance to never come off the court.

“Who wouldn’t like playing 40 minutes?” she said. “That’s everybody’s dream. I’m not complaining.”

@Brandon_chase1

sports@dailytarheel.com

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