On Sunday, in an exciting overtime win in Carmichael Arena, the North Carolina women’s basketball team (7-2, 2-2 ACC) defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3, 1-2 ACC), avenging a previous loss from earlier in the season, while also giving the Tar Heels their second ACC victory of the year.
The Tar Heels got off to a slow start, only managing to score 10 points in the first quarter to Wake Forest's 22. As the second quarter went on, UNC's offense gained momentum, culminating in a one-point lead with two minutes left in the half after a three-pointer from graduate guard Petra Holešínská. The Demon Deacons didn't sit still, though, knocking down two more threes to close the half with a 35-30 lead.
UNC's offense only improved in the third quarter, with the team scoring 23 points, including going 8-for-11 from the foul line. Wake Forest kept fighting, though, and was able to hold onto a three-point lead with a minute left in the period.
With 54 seconds left in the quarter, Holešínská went up for a three-pointer, sinking the shot while also being fouled behind the arc by Demon Deacon guard Jewel Spear. Hitting the foul shot gave the Tar Heels a one-point lead, which they turned into four after a defensive rebound by sophomore forward Malu Tshitenge became another three-pointer from Holešínská.
The two teams were more-or-less even in the fourth quarter, trading a pair of jumpers with under two minutes left in regulation to make the score 68-67, Wake Forest. The game was sent to overtime following a crunch-time free throw by first-year guard Kennedy Todd-Williams.
In overtime, the Tar Heels never trailed. While the Demon Deacons were able two hit two late threes, free throws from Holešínská and Todd-Williams gave the Tar Heels a good cushion. As extra time expired, Wake Forest attempted one last desperation three, only to see it miss, allowing UNC to claim a 77-74 victory.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heels entered the game ranked first in the ACC in rebounding offense and continued to excel today, reaching a total of 46 rebounds and 20 second-chance points in the game.
Bailey led UNC’s offensive attack with a total of 19 points, as well as dominating in the paint with 11 boards — both team highs. Todd-Williams and Holešínská also made essential clutch plays that helped keep the Tar Heels in it, including Todd-Williams's important fourth-quarter foul shots and Holešínská's timely shooting from behind the arc.
When was it decided?
Leading by three points with seven seconds remaining in overtime, the Tar Heels turned the ball over on an inbound pass, giving Wake Forest the chance to tie the game on their final possession. However, a solid defensive effort forced the Deacons to miss an uncomfortable shot as time expired, sealing the Tar Heel win.
Why does it matter?
Head coach Courtney Banghart’s young team was able to gain valuable experience and growth by avenging a previous loss to the Demon Deacons from earlier this season. Despite trailing by as many as 17 points, the Tar Heels were able to display resilience and claim their second consecutive conference win. A third consecutive win against a Syracuse team it's already beaten could be just the spark the team needs to see out the rest of its conference schedule.
When do they play next?
The team has a small break for the holidays before a road match against the Syracuse Orange on Dec. 31 at 2:00 p.m.
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