The North Carolina women’s basketball team (14-10, 5-5) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end Thursday night in an 85-69 loss to Duke.
The absence of redshirt senior guard Paris Kea, who was out with an illness, was felt early as the Blue Devils (11-11, 3-7 ACC) sprinted out to a 12-6 lead. Head coach Sylvia Hatchell decided to make a change early, putting sophomore guard Leah Church into the game.
Church immediately made an impact as she sunk a 3-pointer to swing the momentum UNC’s way. The 3-point specialist did her thing again from well beyond the arc as the clock ran out on the first quarter to give the Tar Heels a 24-18 lead.
That momentum that North Carolina had fizzled out in the second quarter, as the team was outscored 22-7 in the frame. Duke ended on an 18-2 run in the final 7:15 of the half to give the Blue Devils a 40-31 lead heading into the intermission.
The Tar Heels brought the score to within five twice in the third quarter, but strong offensive rebounds by Duke at the end of the quarter helped preserve its lead. Haley Gorecki scored 11 of Duke’s 20 points in the quarter to give the Blue Devils a 60-52 advantage heading into the final frame.
Duke continued to shoot lights out in the fourth quarter to ice the game. Redshirt junior guard Stephanie Watts hit a 3-pointer to make it a 10 point game with 4:09 remaining, but a comeback was not to be.
Watts had a chance to make it a seven-point game on UNC’s next possession, but her 3-point attempt rimmed out. The Blue Devils coasted the rest of the game on their way to victory.