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The Daily Tar Heel

Head coach Sylvia Hatchell discontent after Tar Heels escape with home win, 59-52

Janelle Bailey Clemson

Forward Janelle Bailey (44) snags a rebound during Thursday night's game against Clemson in Carmichael Arena. 

The North Carolina women's basketball team saw a gradual regression from quarter to quarter in its matchup with Clemson on Thursday night.

After UNC utilized its substantial size advantage and suffocating defense in the first quarter to eventually secure a 17-point halftime lead, the Tar Heels ultimately had to survive a major implosion in the fourth quarter, holding on for dear life with a 59-52 win over the Tigers. 

Although victorious, head coach Sylvia Hatchell was quite blunt toward the Tar Heels’ performance in the final two quarters of play.

“I thought we came out very lethargic in the second half,” Hatchell said. “We were very fortunate to win that game.”

UNC (12-5, 2-2 ACC) shot a respectful 47.1 percent in the opening period, especially compared to Clemson’s  12.5 percent. The Tar Heels also had seven more rebounds and six more points in the paint than the Tigers (10-7, 0-4 ACC). Everything seemed to be pointing toward a blowout.

“We started strong, we were moving the ball, running all the way up and down the floor, rebounding,” Hatchell said. “We were doing a lot of good things (in the first quarter).”

This terrific start, however, would not last, as the Tar Heels finished the rest of the game by shooting 22.2 percent from the field, getting outrebounded 42 to 31 and getting outscored in the paint 32 to 6 for the remainder of the game.

“I thought we came out flat after halftime,” Hatchell said. “I’m really disappointed in our leadership out there.”

For the past week, Hatchell has emphasized the importance of leadership for not just the upperclassmen, but for the rest of the team as well. She even cited Alabama’s recent win over Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game as an exemplification for her point.

“It's not just the upperclassmen that can lead, it can be any of the players," Hatchell said. "I kept using the whole week the example of Alabama’s freshman quarterback and freshman receiver winning the game for them. Everybody has got to do their job and take accountability.”

Hatchell believed the levels of intensity and energy that the Tar Heels displayed in the first quarter need to be showcased for the entire game.

“We've got to come out with a killer instinct all the time,” she said.

With the win, the Tar Heels have won two consecutive ACC games, evening their conference record. While this team is still going through the growing pains of a young team, Hatchell does not want to use that as a justification for its poor play. 

“We are young, but I’m not going to make excuses. We’ve played enough games now, and we know that every ACC game is going to be tough, so we've definitely got to do better."

"We can’t accept being average. That’s not our program, that’s not me, and that’s not the way it’s going to be.”

Hatchell even drew from her Hall of Fame experience to validate her concerns for the future of this Tar Heel team.

“I mean, I’ve been coaching forever," she said. "I know that our team is better than what we’re showing.”

@keberly1996

sports@dailytarheel.com

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