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.