It’s a term that can be used to describe seniors as they start to have a decline in motivation or performance.
This term, however, was not applicable for graduate guard Stephanie Watts and senior center Janelle Bailey. In what would be their final game in a UNC uniform, they left it all on the floor in an 80-71 loss to Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday.
Watts scored 29 points off seven 3-pointers and added three blocks, while Bailey had 16 points and was a rebound shy of achieving her 45th career double-double.
“You don’t get to the NCAA Tournament without really good seniors,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. “I’m really proud of mine today.”
It was apparent throughout the game that both Bailey and Watts wanted to extend their college careers. Bailey was a force on the boards, grabbing four offensive rebounds in the first seven minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Watts seemingly answered every Alabama three with one of her own.
Watts' presence was even more evident in the fourth quarter. After Alabama led by as many as 12, Watts scored 13 points in the quarter, including two 3-pointers in 29 seconds, to help trim the deficit to five with just under seven minutes to play.
Despite her efforts, Alabama countered at nearly every opportunity and ultimately sealed the win.
“Defense wins games,” Bailey said. “That’s something you can always count on when you can’t get things going on the offensive end.”