The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday November 29th

UNC women's basketball defeats No. 18 NC State 83-70 while tying school-record in 3-pointers

The North Carolina women's basketball team defeated No. 18 N.C. State 83-70 behind 14 3-pointers — tying the UNC record.

What happened?

From the tip, N.C. State (16-6, 6-3 ACC) knew they would need to get shots up against North Carolina (13-9, 2-7 ACC). With two 3-point attempts in the first 47 seconds, the Wolfpack showed they would try to match the shooting effort of the guard-focused Tar Heels. And while a fast-pace shooting effort can often expose the cracks in an inexperienced team like UNC, a simple requirement for success is that your shots go through the net. N.C. State couldn't land attempts, shooting just 19 percent in the quarter.

The shooting problems persisted into the beginning of the second quarter as N.C. State suffered a nearly six-minute stretch with only two made field goals. After leading by as much as 18, the Tar Heels appeared to be cooling off themselves in the final 5:01 of the half, as they went zero for their last seven and ended the half with an eight-point lead.

The Tar Heels feature the youngest roster in the nation, and the lineup has wilted in the second half of big games. But North Carolina didn’t allow the cold stretch to follow them into the second half, melting it with a blistering 66.7 shooting percentage in the third quarter.

The Tar Heels headed into the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead and the chance at a marquee win against a ranked in-state rival. But the Wolfpack pressured the Tar Heels, trimming the lead to five late in the game. The pressure never broke the young Tar Heels, as they cruised home for an 83-70 victory.

Who stood out?

Redshirt sophomore Paris Kea and junior Jamie Cherry led the team with 13 shots apiece, but their impact was felt in very different ways. Kea nailed 10 of her 13 shots for 21 points, while looking like one of the most dynamic playmakers on the floor as she swiped three steals and had eight assists.

Cherry was lethal from behind the arc, netting six of her nine three-point attempts to lead the team with 23 points. Her six threes were a new career high, and the team’s 14 tied the program record. When the Wolfpack came barking, Cherry was quick to quiet them and the junior gave the team the leadership they needed to score the upset.

When was it decided?

Against an entire Tar Heel roster that features only one active upperclassman, N.C. State’s lineup of five upperclassmen looked to have found their groove as they clawed within five with under six minutes to play. But a two-minute stretch saw Cherry and sophomore Destinee Walker combine for three three-pointers to build the lead back up to ten points. A long-range dagger by sophomore Stephanie Watts with just over two minutes to play kept that momentum with the Tar Heels to close out the win.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels have had flashes of greatness against ranked ACC opponents such as Notre Dame and Miami, but have been unable to string together a complete game against top opponents. The shooting effort of the third quarter, and Cherry’s two three-pointers after N.C. State’s run in the fourth quarter, showed that this team is capable of responding in high-pressure situations.

Beyond being a much needed win for a team that had dropped seven of their last eight games, the win came in front of a packed home crowd for Play4Kay day. Play4Kay day is geared towards raising awareness for women’s cancer. Coach Sylvia Hatchell was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2013 and won her battle with cancer. Hatchell won another battle tonight in front of a pink shirted crowd that was supporting cancer research and the Tar Heels.

Where do they play next?

North Carolina hits the road to face Clemson on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

@James_Tatter

sports@dailytarheel.com

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