No. 13 UNC women’s basketball began conference play with a 71-78 ACC loss to Florida State, recording a second-straight loss.
Florida State scored first in Thursday night’s matchup with a three-pointer, but UNC recovered quickly with a jumper by junior guard Kennedy Todd-Williams. From there, the Tar Heels struggled to finish out shots, going 3-10 in their first ten. A scoring drought of over two minutes for the Seminoles and increased unity by North Carolina resulted in a tied 22-22 score after the first quarter.
An early second quarter layup by the Tar Heels gave them a lead that they maintained for the remainder of the first half. FSU’s defense didn’t make this an easy feat, with Jazmine Massengill taking the ball from UNC guard Alyssa Ustby in two straight possessions and the Seminoles scoring six points in the span of a minute. Regardless of this, UNC had a stellar offensive performance in the second quarter with eight points by Ustby and nine by guard Deja Kelly, highlighted by a 4-point play. North Carolina entered halftime with a 6-point lead.
Things became physical at the tense start of the second half with three personal fouls in the span of three seconds. After six minutes of the quarter, the foul count was up to eight. The game returned to its closely-matched back-and-forth nature in the third quarter and was tied by the time half of the quarter had expired. Florida State reclaimed the lead for the first time since the first quarter and was up by four heading into the fourth.
The Seminoles maintained their momentum in the final quarter. Despite being deferred by a technical foul, they remained ahead. The Tar Heels got within one point several times, but were unable to get back on top, resulting in a 71-78 loss.
Who stood out?
Redshirt senior guard Eva Hodgson helped keep the Tar Heels afloat in the first quarter, during which she led the team in assists and tied in leading in both points and rebounds. Hodgson continued to perform admirably throughout the matchup, but Ustby and Kelly took over to help the team stay competitive until the game’s final moments. Kelly was the team’s top-scorer with 20 points and Ustby put up her sixth double-double of the season.