TUCSON, Ariz. — There was about half an hour until tip-off at the UNC women’s basketball team's second-round NCAA Tournament game against Arizona, and a sea of red was already flooding the stands of McKale Memorial Center.
Cardinal red-beaded necklaces, “Bear Down!” signs and even red lightsabers were scattered among the crowd. The center held 8,333 people on Monday, the largest crowd the Tar Heels had played in front of all year — and it wasn't a friendly one.
The noise was deafening, headache-inducing. Jeers were targeted at players all night, in between "U of A!" chants.
And in the third quarter, when a floater from Arizona forward Cate Reese brought the game within seven points — the closest it would get for the rest of the night — Wildcat nation was on its feet.
But Kennedy Todd-Williams wasn’t having any of that noise.
On the very next possession, the sophomore guard sent a dagger 3-pointer home, sending a cutting silence through the cries of the crowd.
After firing that shot, Todd-Williams threw her hands down and walked backwards as the ball hung in the air. She turned to stare down the cardinal-colored stands, and her face remained calm as she let her shot — and the swish of the net — do the talking.
“I don’t know, I kind of blacked out,” Todd-Williams laughingly said of that moment.
In a 63-45 win that earned the No. 5 seed Tar Heels their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2015, Todd-Williams matched her season-highs with 19 points and five assists on an efficient 7-11 shooting clip from the field, championing the Tar Heel offense.