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Thursday January 20th

Eva Hodgson’s 19 points propel UNC women's basketball to bounce back win over Virginia Tech

Junior guard Eva Hodgson (10) prepares to move past a defender during the game against Virginia Tech at Carmichael Arena on Jan. 9th, 2022. UNC won 71-46.
Buy Photos Junior guard Eva Hodgson (10) prepares to move past a defender during the game against Virginia Tech at Carmichael Arena on Jan. 9th, 2022. UNC won 71-46.

As a great perimeter shooter, redshirt junior guard Eva Hodgson knows that having a shooter’s mentality is necessary. 

After making just two of her 12 shot attempts in UNC's first loss of the season to N.C. State on Thursday, Hodgson responded in a big way Sunday with a season high 19 points, shooting 75 percent from the field while knocking down four three-pointers.

Her efforts Saturday helped the Tar Heels defeat Virginia Tech, 71-46.

These two games are exemplary of the ebbs and flows of being a shooter. Even after a bad shooting night, Hodgson stayed confident and made the same shots that she missed against the Wolfpack.

“Thursday night, my shots felt good, they just weren't falling,” Hodgson said. “And like every shooter, you just gotta keep shooting. And tonight my teammates found me really well, and the ball felt good coming out of my hands.”

Hodgson made an immediate impact upon entering the game midway through the first quarter, sinking her first three-pointer and a pair of free throws. Seeing the ball go through the net a couple times is all a shooter like Hodgson needs to get in rhythm.

Her signature moment in the game came in the third quarter, where she knocked down two three-pointers in 50 seconds to spark an 8-0 run and increase the Tar Heels’ lead to 30 points.

In this exciting, flashy string of plays, Hodgson stayed true to the fundamentals of a shooter, paying full attention to detail on the court in order to get clean looks from downtown.

“Being able to kind of pick up my pace a little bit and set screens for people and just do stop cuts and everything like that — those little things can go a really long way in getting a more open shot," Hodgson said.

Head coach Courtney Banghart admires Hodgson’s attitude as a player and knows the luxury of having a player come off the bench to provide a scoring punch.

“She’s got this toughness. She has the willingness to win, and she works for it,” Banghart said. “She wills the team along. So, as much as her numbers spoke for themselves, her impact on this team is even bigger.”

Hodgson was one of four Tar Heels in double figures as North Carolina got out of its recent shooting slump against ACC opponents. UNC shot around 44 percent from the field and from three-point range, both of which can be attributed to getting the right shots with good ball movement and decision making.

“Our offense is really well when we move the ball,” sophomore forward Anya Poole said. “When people have to guard every single one of us on the court, it’s very hard.”

Poole was fantastic on the night, scoring 12 points and securing eight rebounds while containing Virginia Tech center Elizabeth Kitley in the paint defensively.

With Hodgson being a threat from the outside and Poole scoring efficiently down low, along with three-level scorers in Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby, UNC showed how versatile its offense can be.

More importantly, they have fantastic chemistry on the court and always look to make the right pass — the key to helping Hodgson get open shots from beyond the arc to fulfill her role as a three-point sniper.

“My teammates find me well,” Hodgson said. “They’ve learned my tendencies. I’ve learned their tendencies. And so being able to read each other is the biggest thing."

Hodgson is now shooting 41.5 percent from three on the season, but the percentage has never mattered for her: she is going to keep shooting.

@jdolgoff3

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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