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UNC women's basketball gives up 12-point fourth quarter lead, falls to Duke in overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium

UNC senior guard Deja Kelly (25) dribbles the ball during the women’s basketball game against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. UNC fell to Duke 60-68.

DURHAM — Alyssa Ustby had a chance to win the game.

With UNC and Duke tied and 0.5 seconds left in regulation, the senior forward had one shot to make the Tar Heels' fourth quarter collapse at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday irrelevant.

Graduate guard Lexi Donarski inbounded the ball from the baseline to Ustby, but as soon as the small forward put up the shot, the ball quickly rolled off the rim and fell to the floor.


While the extra time gifted Ustby and the Tar Heels five more minutes to redeem their poor fourth quarter play, the momentum had already shifted toward the Blue Devils, all but sealing the game. UNC led by a dozen points entering the fourth quarter, but cold shooting and foul trouble persisted through overtime, resulting in a 68-60 defeat — a fourth consecutive loss and North Carolina's first regular season loss to Duke since the 2019-20 season.

If you ask head coach Courtney Banghart, the Tar Heels simply "weren't good enough."

“We had a chance to win it there," Banghart said. "Then, in overtime, they made more plays than us.”

The Tar Heels began the fourth quarter by missing their first eight shots, not making a basket until first-year guard Reniya Kelly scored with 3:23 on the clock. By then, Duke had erased North Carolina’s 12-point lead and had tied the game at 48 points apiece.

Then, clinging to a two-point lead with under two minutes in regulation, Kelly dribbled the ball for 14 seconds before junior center Maria Gakdeng set a screen. The senior guard then drove straight into a double team and turned the ball over, giving the Blue Devils a chance to tie the game.

“We wanted to play through the ball screen and, again, have guards create too," Banghart said. "Get two [defenders] on the ball so we could get someone else a shot."

The four-game skid is frustrating for the team due to the talent North Carolina possesses. While Kelly was searching for a reason as to how the Tar Heels allowed the Blue Devils to steal the game from them, Duke head coach Kara Lawson attributed her squad's comeback win to staying consistent with what her team was doing.

"I just believed [that] we’re gonna start making shots, we’re gonna start making layups," Lawson said. "If we keep getting these quality looks, it has to turn at some point, and that’s what you cling to.”

North Carolina had its chance to end its losing streak and hold onto its double digit lead, but when it came down to finishing the Blue Devils off, the Tar Heels failed to do so.

“It’s BS, it’s time for it to be enough,” Kelly said. “It should’ve been enough a game ago, and the game before that and the game before that. I think we just need more people with a different mentality — like a killer mentality.”


@dthsports |

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