Without its emotional leader, the North Carolina women's basketball team crumbled.
With Coach Sylvia Hatchell serving the first of a two-game suspension, UNC fell 78-49 to N.C. State on Sunday at Broughton High School. The suspension is a result of making contact with an official in a loss against Duke on Jan. 24.
The first half was highlighted by the physicality on each side. Both teams played with pace, leading to quick shot attempts and a handful of charges. Neither team broke out in the first two quarters, as the lead changed hands eight times.
Through twenty minutes, the two teams seemed to mimic each other’s play. A hard foul by the Tar Heels would be followed by a physical response from the Wolfpack. Both teams took their chances from the 3-point line – combining for 33 attempts in the first half.
The third quarter saw N.C. State finally start to create the separation it was looking for.
The Wolfpack outscored UNC 28-11 in the quarter and extended its lead to 22. The Tar Heels failed to respond, dropping its sixth straight ACC game.
Hatchell’s absence was obvious for the Tar Heels. The team looked disjointed and fatigued throughout the entirety of the second half, resulting in poor shot attempts and persistent foul trouble.
“We have champions. We have champions in our locker room and they want to play for Coach Hatchell and they love Coach Hatchell. We missed her today. ... It was my responsibility today to get them to do it and I didn’t get that job done.” – Associate head coach Andrew Calder on the absence of Hatchell.
North Carolina played a rotation of eight players, which included seniors Rachel McGirt and Anne Corrigan. This was atypical of a UNC group that normally fits six players into the rotation. Fatigue has been a problem for the fledgling North Carolina team so far this season.
Three numbers that matter
29: The 29-point loss was the second worst in program history against N.C. State. The Tar Heel’s worst loss against the Wolfpack came in 1978, when UNC fell by 31.
25: UNC hadn't lost six games in a row in 25 years. The team lost eight straight games in the 1990-1991 season.
61: The two teams combined for 61 3-point shot attempts. N.C. State shot 11-for-35 from behind the arc, while UNC shot 5-for-26.
North Carolina faces off against Louisville at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday at Carmichael Arena.
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