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Inefficient shooting plagues UNC women's basketball in loss to Florida State

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UNC freshman guard Kennedy Todd-Williams (3) looks to pass the ball against Florida State junior guard Morgan Jones (24) on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. UNC fell to Florida State 61-51

Despite hopes to bounce back after two consecutive losses, the North Carolina women’s basketball team could not find a rhythm on either end of the court on Thursday against Florida State. Instead, offensive struggles from UNC swung in favor of the Seminoles, with Florida State leaving Carmichael Arena with a 61-51 win. 

Consistent shooting lacked throughout the game for the Tar Heels, as they finished with just 27.5 percent shooting from the field and a 19.4 percent clip from deep. To the dismay of North Carolina's bench, shots couldn't seem to find the bottom of the net. 

UNC also struggled to get its offense moving before shots were taken, as it turned the ball over 13 times overall. The Seminoles' strong half court defense forced the Tar Heels' outside of the 3-point line, making it difficult for senior center Janelle Bailey, UNC's leading scorer, to get the ball. 

Graduate transfer Petra Holešínská, the Tar Heels' next leading scorer, was held out of the box score for most of the night. She finished with just three points on 1-13 shooting. 

“I think we need to start off the game better and get in a rhythm on offense faster,” first-year Ariel Young said. 

UNC head coach Courtney Banghart said a key aspect of the offensive struggles was North Carolina's lack of a designated point guard. Several players played in the position against the Seminoles, and the Tar Heels were constantly adjusting on the floor. 

“It would be like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing the Super Bowl without Tom Brady,” Banghart said. “It’s a problem. The point guard is such a critical position. I told them they need to share the responsibility.” 

With the absence of high-level production from their upperclassman leaders, the Tar Heels were forced to rely on their younger members to step up. Though first-years like Young, Deja Kelly and Kennedy Todd-Williams have exceptional individual talent, the Tar Heels struggled to link up with one another and seemed unable to fight off the Seminoles' pressure at times. 

Kelly was held off of the scorecard completely, finishing with zero points on 0-8 shooting, and Young and Todd-Williams finished with 14 points combined. 

An ugly first half was matched by a tough second half. The North Carolina defense committed 22 personal fouls overall — with many coming in the second frame — a number too high to be sustainable, and the Seminoles continued to take full advantage of UNC’s struggles to extend their lead. 

The Tar Heels became a little more consistent with their shooting in the second half, but at that point, they were playing against a running clock. While the Seminoles' lead at one point reached 20, UNC was able to put together a comeback late in the second half, but it was not enough to cut the deficit below eight points in the fourth quarter.

Moving into the final stretch of regular season play with an 8-8 record, an NCAA Tournament bid is now well out of grasp for the Tar Heels. In order to string together more consistent wins moving forward, increasing offensive efficiency will be a necessity. 

“It’s an inexperienced group,” Banghart said. “I think there is a swag that you develop as a team and we haven’t developed that yet. It’s just that simple.” 

@nmschroder

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com