Despite a victory over No. 4 N.C. State just two weeks before, the North Carolina women’s basketball team fell to the Wolfpack in an 82-63 loss on Sunday, breaking the Tar Heels’ three-game winning streak.
In the beginning of the first quarter, the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack stayed nearly even. Graduate guard Petra Holešínská and senior center Janelle Bailey put up some points early on, but the team had trouble getting their shots to fall later in the quarter. N.C. State held the team to just eight points in the first quarter and ended the period on an 11-0 scoring run.
The Tar Heels still struggled to find their rhythm in the second quarter. Back-to-back layups by first-year guard Alyssa Ustby to close out the period helped keep the Tar Heels in the game, but they nonetheless ended the half down by 10 points.
Midway through the third quarter, a jumper by first-year guard Deja Kelly brought the deficit to just eight points. However, N.C. State quickly turned things around and regained its double-digit lead. The Tar Heels struggled to find the basket from the outside, going 0-16 from beyond the arc until Holešínská scored the Tar Heels’ first three-pointer late in the third quarter. The team closed out the quarter trailing by 16 points.
Despite finding their perimeter shot in the last quarter, going 4-7 from beyond the arc, the Tar Heels had dug themselves into too deep of a hole to pull out a victory. Down 14 with less than four minutes to go, the Tar Heels were held off by the Wolfpack and lost 82-63.
Who stood out?
The points were spread pretty evenly across the team, with Kelly, Bailey, Ustby and Holešínská all putting up double digits. Graduate guard Stephanie Watts also put together a complete game, registering seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
When was it decided?
While the Wolfpack held the lead for the entirety of the game, they put it away at the beginning of the fourth quarter when they scored a 3-pointer to bring their lead to 18. At this point in the game, it was unlikely that the Tar Heels would be able to close the gap.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina was hoping to go 2-0 against ranked rival N.C. State this season. With this loss, the Tar Heels fall to 11-9 overall and 6-9 in the ACC, further jeopardizing the team's hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. ESPN's Bracketology had them in the category of "Last Four In," making every game at this point in the season a must-win game.
After breaking their three-game winning streak, the Tar Heels will look to redeem themselves in their last home game of the season against Georgia Tech on Thursday.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will face Georgia Tech in Carmichael Arena on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m.
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