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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's basketball ends four-game winning streak in loss at Colorado

Women's Basketball Kent State Janelle Bailey
Sophomore center Janelle Bailey (44) scores during game against Kent State on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at Carmichael Arena. UNC won 73-60.

The UNC women’s basketball team (3-1) dropped its first contest of the year in a 86-74 defeat to Colorado (3-0) in Boulder on Sunday. 

What happened?

The Tar Heels got out to a quick start, jumping to an 11-1 lead on the Buffaloes in the first quarter. 

Sophomore center Janelle Bailey opened the game with a three pointer and seven total points in the early run for North Carolina. UNC could not maintain the momentum of the early minutes, however, and Colorado erased the 10 point deficit with a 14-2 run of their own to take a 15-13 advantage with 4:28 to go in the period. 

Colorado, led by 9 points from Kennedy Leonard, continued its push through the end of the first quarter, taking a 26-19 lead into the first intermission.

The offenses slowed down coming out of the quarter break, with UNC and Colorado combining for 8 points in the early stages of the quarter. Colorado threatened to break the game open, stretching its lead to 9 points at the 6:48 mark, but the Tar Heels fought their way back to within two with the score 32-30 near the halfway point of the second. 

That’s when Leonard went on another run, pouring in 8 more points and dishing two assists in answer to a 7-0 UNC run. She gave the Buffaloes an 8 point lead going into halftime. 

Leonard continued her dominant effort right off the bat in the third quarter, hitting a three to record the first points of the second half, and extending the Colorado lead to double figures once again. 

The Buffaloes established firm control of the game in the third quarter not from a huge run, but rather from consistent offensive production throughout the 10 minutes. It did not have a run greater than 6-0, but found itself leading the game 75-56 heading into the final frame. 

An invigorated Tar Heel squad took the floor to start the fourth quarter. 

Staring at a 19-point deficit, North Carolina came out and scored the first 7 points, closing the gap to 12. Bailey continued her strong game, scoring her 22nd point on a jump shot to open the quarter. 

Transfer Shaylah Bennett followed up with a layup for her 15th point of the game to give UNC some hope of a rally. But Colorado, lead by a second half outburst from sophomore forward Annika Jank, responded with a 7-0 run of their own to reset the points gap. 

Colorado held UNC scoreless for 3:30 during the stretch, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Tar Heels. 

Who stood out?

Despite the loss, Bailey had a phenomenal game for North Carolina. She posted 26 points (eight more than her closest teammate), along with 11 rebounds. This is her fourth straight game in double figures on the year, and her second double-double in the young season. 

The Buffaloes were lead by Jank and Leonard, who scored 25 and 24 points respectively. The duo combined for more than half of Colorado’s points. 

Leonard also served as the main playmaker for the Buffaloes, leading the team with a game-high eight assists. 

When was it decided?

This game was decided in the early stages of the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels, trailing by 19 after the third quarter, looked to be playing with new life after sprinting out to the quarters first 7 points. But a equal response from Colorado put their lead back to 19, a mountain that proved too high for North Carolina to climb. 

Why does it matter?

This was UNC’s first chance to compete against a fellow power-5 team, with their first three contests coming against mid-majors. It was also their first game outside of North Carolina this season, and begins a five game stretch that the Tar Heels will play away from Carmichael Arena. 

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When do they play next?

The Tar Heels are headed to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to take on UCLA on Thursday in the Paradise Jam.