Leaning over the light blue railing that separates fans from the game in Carmichael Arena, she started giving out hugs — too many to count — to the family members who watched her play. Her grandparents, her sisters, her dad and others.
“Having that love and support there just meant the world to me,” Smith said.
The North Carolina women’s basketball team lost, 95-71, to No. 13 Duke on Sunday, but Smith was celebrating a career-high five 3-pointers that came from doing what she always does — getting open in the corners.
“That’s her spot,” head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We always know where to look for her.”
It’s where Smith has always found holes against transition and zone defenses. Opponents overlook Smith, but her teammates don’t.
Her first look was on the left side. She found herself open behind the 3-point line and lofted a shot over a Duke defender’s outstretched hands.
When it went in, tears filled the eyes of her grandmother and sister.
Her basket gave UNC a 5-2 lead over the Blue Devils (25-4, 13-3 ACC). North Carolina gave it up about two minutes later and never led again.