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No. 23 UNC women's basketball earns road win over Georgia Tech

Ustby_atGT.jpg
UNC junior guard/forward Alyssa Ustby (1) shoots the ball at a women's basketball game against Georgia Tech on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Atlanta. UNC won 73-68. Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications.

The No. 23 North Carolina women’s basketball team (13-5, 5-1 ACC) defeated Georgia Tech (12-6, 3-3 ACC), 73-68, at the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta on Thursday.

“It’s not easy to win, and I think this league is really strong, so that 5-1 record is a real record." UNC head coach Courtney Banghart said. “You know, these are really good teams that we play night-in and night-out. Our nonconference schedule prepared us really well.” 

 In the tightly contested game, momentum shifted back and forth, with both teams showing strong defensive efforts on the court.

Senior guard Deja Kelly got things started for the Tar Heels on the offense, scoring UNC's first nine points of the game. Following her lead, senior small forward Alyssa Ustby scored a layup, giving the Tar Heels their first lead. With the help of Indya Nivar and Maria Gakdeng, UNC ended the first quarter with a 6-point lead at 17-11.


In the second half, the Tar Heels gained offensive momentum. Kelly showcased her sharpshooting by sinking multiple 3-pointers, extending UNC's lead. Simultaneously, Ustby's steady stream of layups reinforced the team's offensive drive, underlining North Carolina's proficiency in both long-range and close-up scoring.

“This is a special group and, speaking as a senior, I’m just so proud of all the girls on this team, especially the younger ones that have stepped up.” Ustby said. “We’re just intentional, and we’re bringing the intensity every single game because we want it really bad, but we also put in the work that gets us those results.” 

 

After Georgia Tech narrowed its deficit to 2 points at halftime, a dominant third quarter performance put UNC back in front. The nail-biting game was secured by Kelly who clutched up with free throws in the final seconds, handing North Carolina the victory over Georgia Tech.

The chemistry between Kelly, Gakdeng and Key stood out in this matchup. North Carolina’s ability to swiftly transition from defense to offense, particularly by capitalizing on turnovers for fast-break opportunities, was a key factor that led to the Tar Heels victory.

And, if you ask Banghart, so were the UNC fans present in Atlanta.

“I’d be remiss not to thank all the fans that came," Banghart said. "It felt like a home game. We had a lot of fans come down from Chapel Hill for this game which was really special.”

The Tar Heels look to continue their winning streak as they play the Louisville Cardinals this upcoming Sunday at 2 p.m. at Carmichael Arena. 

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@laureneweider

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com