The No. 13 North Carolina women’s basketball team exacted some revenge on No. 8 Maryland Friday night in Greensboro, defeating the Terrapins 73-70 to improve to 24-8 on the season and advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals, where the Tar Heels will face No. 10 Duke.
With the loss, the Terrapins dropped to 24-6 on the season and finished their final ACC Tournament in disappointing fashion. Next year, Maryland will join the Big Ten.
The game featured two of the conference’s premier players in UNC’s Diamond DeShields and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas. The pair lived up to their billings.
Freshman sensation DeShields put up 22 points while three-time ACC player of the year Thomas scored 24 points of her own to set the career scoring record for the Terps.
“Outstanding job by Carolina on the defensive end. Offensively we did some more things today. Again, you see the talent of Diamond DeShields going in the post and taking advantage of her outstanding skills also in the post. She’s not showed a lot of that this year, but she showed a variety of moves tonight,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
Carolina used impressive defensive intensity to stymie the Maryland offensive attack early on and claim an 11-point advantage at halftime.
But Maryland came roaring back in the second half thanks to some inspiring play by Thomas that trimmed UNC’s lead down to a mere one point with under a minute remaining in the contest.
Crucially, Carolina’s Brittany Rountree hit two free throws with 16 seconds left to push the margin back out to three. And when Thomas missed a wide open three-pointer for the tie in the final seconds, the Tar Heels escaped with the win.
Allisha Gray provided a 17-point contribution while Xylina McDaniel posted 10 points for Carolina.
Next up for the Tar Heels is an opportunity to record a third win over their bitter rivals, the Duke Blue Devils. That semifinal is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. from the Greensboro Coliseum.
N.C. State and undefeated Notre Dame meet in the afternoon semifinal matchup. The winners will meet in Sunday night’s championship game.
The No. 13 UNC women’s basketball team snuck into the third round with a 69-65 defeat of Wake Forest Wednesday night in Greensboro.
The Demon Deacons opened the contest with a 7-0 run shooting 3-3 from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels answered with a 5-2 run, but then with the help of Dearica Hamby’s 19 first-half points shooting 9-11 from the field, the Deacs pulled away again and jumped out to a double-digit lead.
At halftime, Carolina was down 12 shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, while Wake Forest connected on 59 percent of its attempts.
The Tar Heels hit the final basket of the first half and scored the next 14 points unanswered to take the lead at 41-39. In the middle of that run, though, there was a nearly 25-minute break in the action as all the lights went out in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Wake Forest stormed back to take the lead again, but finally play settled with Carolina in the lead. UNC was 3-4 in free throws in the final 30 seconds to fend off Wake and hold on for the four-point win.
Hamby only had ten points in the second half finishing with 29, but she still led all players. Wake’s Chelsea Douglas also tallied 20 points in her final contest as a Deac.
Diamond Deshields led the Heels with 17 points She also pulled down eight rebounds. No other Tar Heels hit double-figure scoring.
Each team turned the ball over more times than the number of field goals it hit. Carolina turned the ball over 22 times; Wake Forest had 26 TOs.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 23-8; the Demon Deacons finished their season 15-16.
Carolina faces No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday with a scheduled tip time of 8:00 p.m. Maryland got first- and second-round byes with its 24-5, 12-4 regular season finish. The Tar Heels lost to the Terrapins 79-70 in Chapel Hill on January 9.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-basketball-survives-advances-def-wfu-69-65/
Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says he understands the depth and talent in the ACC. Carolina’s No. 6 seed in the Tournament says it all, but Coach Calder says his team knows it can beat “anybody, anywhere.”
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“The conference, as we know, is very strong. With the addition of Notre Dame, it’s even stronger. We’re just trying to get better every day. We’ve been up and down, and I accept responsibility for the down parts there. We’re talented. We feel like we have a chance to beat anybody, anywhere. We’re looking forward to getting better, playing in the Tournament and showcasing our skills,” Coach Calder says.
Coach Calder says the extreme youth of the Tar Heels is overcome by their immense talent. He says the coaching staff doesn’t even consider them to be freshmen.
“Obviously they’re very talented. As coaches we know, in the end, players win games. They’re playing very well together. We never considered them as freshmen. We never gave them a bail-out that we’re young. […] We give them no excuses. They’re talented, and we’re trying to get better,” Coach Calder says.
The Tar Heels have been one of the most up-and-down squads in the country with exhilarating upsets coupled with shocking losses. Coach Calder says his team has been working on being more patient with its shot selection to become a much more consistent unit.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well some of those games. We had some good looks that didn’t go. Also, we didn’t defend as well as we could. We settled for a few more jump shots because they were available. We’re working on improving that,” Coach Calder says.
Coach Calder says Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell is undergoing her final round of cancer treatment this week and has designs on being back patrolling the sidelines with her Tar Heels for the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman sensation Diamond DeShields, who recently became the first UNC freshman to ever eclipse the 500-point mark, will need to save some of her best stuff for the ACC Tournament if Carolina wants to be holding up a trophy Sunday night. But ESPN’s National Rookie of the Year says she’s just happy to fulfill her role on the team.
“I guess I’m proud to score that many points. I just do what I got to do. Everyone has roles on the team. Stephanie [Mavunga] is a great rebounder and inside scorer. I think scoring is a role too. I think I’m good at having that role as scorer,” DeShields says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/talented-carolina-women-looking-build-consistency-acc-tournament/
The North Carolina men’s basketball team has jumped up five spots to No. 14 in the latest AP poll released Monday.
Following a week featuring a pair of ACC road victories over N.C. State and Virginia Tech, 22-7 Carolina continues its climb up the national rankings.
The ACC is featured prominently in the rankings, with three schools in the top seven. 23-6 Duke checks in at No. 4 while ACC regular season champion Virginia closely follows at No. 5 with 26-3 Syracuse falling to No. 7.
27-2 Florida remains the nation’s top-ranked squad this week, but the Gators are closely trailed by undefeated Wichita State. The Shockers received 14 first-place votes.
Also of note, the North Carolina Central Eagles, sitting at 23-5 on the season with a win over N.C. State and a competitive loss to Wichita State, received one vote in the rankings for the second week in a row.
As for the women, the Tar Heels slid up a rung to No. 13 in the latest AP poll. At 22-8, Carolina has been riding the ups and downs this season with big-time wins, like Sunday’s against Duke, being met with head scratching losses.
As for the rest of the ACC, undefeated No. 2 Notre Dame trails only Connecticut in the national polls while 24-5 Maryland lands a spot at No. 8 while 25-5 Duke checks in at No. 10.
Click here for the complete men’s rankings.
Click here for the complete women’s rankings.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hoops-rankings-update-tar-heel-men-women-top-15-acc-schools-shining/
The No. 14 North Carolina women’s basketball team slid by No. 7 Duke 64-60 Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena, earning the season sweep of the Blue Devils to improve to 22-8 overall and 10-6 in conference play.
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With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to 25-5 on the season and 12-4 in the ACC. Sunday marked the first time Duke was swept by UNC since the 2007-08 season.
“For Duke, I want to wish them the best of luck. I know they’re down a couple players, but they’re still very talented and very well coached. They’ll find a way. They’re champions and that’s why they fought back today. [...] As far as the Tar Heels, I thought we played very hard. I thought we did a lot of good things. We didn’t make some shots I thought we should have made, but it was one of our best games this year and really proud of the players,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
***Listen to Coach Calder and player postgame remarks***
With Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell looking on from the stands, the Tar Heels played to a quick tempo that the Blue Devils struggled to keep up with for much of the contest.
Allisha Gray came out of the locker rooms a new person in the second half, knocking down three quick three-pointers to give Carolina the commanding 47-31 lead, going on a 14-0 run.
But the Blue Devils went on a 16-0 run of their own to cut the deficit down to three points at 50-47 with 6:35 to play in the game. The momentum had swung completely in Duke’s favor.
But determined makes by Stephanie Mavunga in the paint staved off the Blue Devil attack and allowed the Tar Heels to put away the game down the stretch. One of the key factors to deciding the game was rebounding. The Tar Heels were crucially able to outrebound a much taller Blue Devil squad 35-33.
Diamond DeShields led the Tar Heels with 18 points while Mavunga and Gray added 12 points apiece. With her scoring Sunday, DeShields became the first UNC freshman to score 500 points in a season.
Duke’s Tricia Liston posted a team-leading 19 points while Elizabeth Williams put up 12 points of her own, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a series sweep for Carolina.
Before the game, Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell told ESPN she would be ready to get back out on the court as soon as she gets done with her final round of treatments this week. That leaves open the possibility of a return for the NCAA Tournament.
Duke won the opening tipoff an Tricia Liston made a long range three-pointer to raw first blood on the first possession of the game.
Elizabeth Williams scored inside following an unsuccessful Carolina possession to give the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead with 18:08 to play in the half.
Haley Peters knocked down a jumper to extend the lead out to 7-0 for Duke, but DeShields swished a three-point shot to get the Tar Heels on the board.
Williams found some space around the basket and banked the ball in to give the Blue Devils the 11-3 advantage with 15:41 to play.
Stephanie Mavunga got one to go to close the gap down to eight points at 13-5. The Latifah Coleman nailed a three-pointer to ignite crowd. With 14:20 to play in the half, Carolina was trailing 13-8.
Liston ran the floor for an easy score off a Carolina turnover. The lead was back out to 17-10 for the Blue Devils with 12:38 on the first half clock.
DeShields broke away next for a layup basket. An official timeout with 11:37 to go in the half had Duke leading 17-12.
Jessica Washington knocked down an uncontested shot from behind the arc and a breakaway score by Butts reduced the deficit down to just two points at 19-17.
Mavunga was becoming more and more active in the paint, forcing the ball through the nets. The score was 22-19 in favor of Duke with 8:11 to play in the half.
Xylina McDaniel calmly tied the game with a shot outside that knotted the score at 22-22. McDaniel scored again inside to give Carolina its first lead of the contest at 24-22 with 6:08 to play in the opening half.
DeShields was fouled on a shot and connected on both of her free throws to stake the Tar Heels out to a 26-22 lead with 4:58 remaining before halftime.
Washington got the line next, knocking down both free throws to extend the UNC advantage out to 28-22. Duke scored quickly on the other end, but Mavunga responded with a make inside.
After a three-pointer by Peters, Duke had closed the margin down to just one point. The Tar Heels had the 30-29 lead with 2:30 left in the half.
McDaniel made a nice move and reverse to get a clutch shot to fall, giving UNC the 32-31 edge with 59 seconds to go before halftime.
DeShields scored a high-flying layup on the run to push the Tar Heels ahead 34-31, and at the half, it was Carolina with the 36-31 advantage.
Gray knocked down a three-pointer to start the proceedings in the second half. UNC had the 39-31 lead with 19:20 left in the game. Gray responded again with a long-range jumper from the perimeter to give Carolina the 42-31 advantage with 18:40 to play.
Gray just could not be stopped as she knocked down shot after shot to create an explosion in Carmichael Arena. She hit another long-range shot to give Carolina the 47-31 lead with 16:59 to play.
Peters battled her way to the foul line at the 12:38 mark, making both attempts to rally Duke back to within 13 points at 50-37. The Blue Devils were on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit down to nine points at 50-41 with 9:33 to play in the game.
It was a five point game after another Duke score inside. Carolina couldn’t come up with any rebounds as Duke began to gobble up the board. The score was 50-47 with 7:16 to play in the game.
Washington broke the Duke momentum swing with a run-out score that placed the score at 52-49 with under six minutes to go.
McDaniel got herself to the line and knocked down one free throw. But the shots were not falling from the field for Carolina as the clock was winding down.
Ka’ lia Johnson scored and got the foul, making the point after to close within one at 53-52 with 3:57 to play.
Mavunga responded with an inside score for the Tar Heels and with 3:31 to play, UNC had the 55-52 edge. Gray remerged with a three-point conversion that got the crowd roaring and gave Carolina the 60-52 with 1:58 to play.
DeShields drained a clutch jumper as the shot clock was expiring to give UNC the comfortable 62-53 lead they needed to hold on to the victory.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the ACC Tournament in Greensboro later this week. UNC will play Thursday at 8 p.m. against the winner of the Wake-Forest-Pittsburgh game.
Click here for the game photo gallery.
The No. 14 North Carolina women’s basketball team, 21-8 on the season and 9-6 in conference play, closes out its regular season Sunday with a 1 p.m. tip on ESPN against top rival No. 7 Duke, 25-4 overall and 12-3 in the ACC.
A win on Sunday would earn Carolina its first season sweep of Duke since the 2007-08 season. In the first meeting, Diamond DeShields dropped 30 points to power the Tar Heels to the 89-78 upset victory at hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Lately, however, the Tar Heels have fallen on hard times, losing their last two games to unranked Virginia Tech and No. 2 Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils rebounded from their own loss to Notre Dame with a comfortable 71-56 win over Wake Forest.
The first 1,000 students in attendance will receive a Carolina blue ‘Keep Calm and Beat Duke’ shirt while the first 250 kids, under 14 years of age, will eat for free at Carmichael Arena.
The bracket pairings for the ACC Tournament will be revealed Sunday evening.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-women-take-center-stage-duke-rematch/
The North Carolina women’s basketball team lost 100-75 at Notre Dame Thursday night to drop to 21-8 on the season and 9-6 in conference play.
With the victory, the Fighting Irish maintained their perfect record by improving to 28-0 overall.
Kayla McBride scored 28 points and Natalie Achonwa added 24 of her own to lead second-ranked Notre Dame to the win.
The Irish ran away from the Tar Heels, opening up with a big advantage and leading 55-38 at intermission. The Tar Heels attempted a rally in the second half with a 10-4 run that cut the lead to 61-51.
But that was as close as Carolina would get as Notre Dame pulled away later in the second half.
Notre Dame shot 52 percent against UNC, which had been holding opponents to 35-percent shooting.
Xylina McDaniel led the scoring charge for the Tar Heels with 18 points and Diamond DeShields posted 17. DeShields is now just one point shy of Erlana Larkin’s freshman record of 496 points scored in the 2004-05 season.
Next up for the Tar Heels is their season finale against Duke Sunday at 1 p.m. in Carmichael Arena. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
The Tar Heels have seemingly saved their best form for the biggest stages this season with top 10 road wins at Duke and NC State. In addition, Carolina claimed a neutral site victory in December over South Carolina, a top five-ranked team.
The Fighting Irish have already clinched the ACC regular season with two games to play this week.
UNC and Notre Dame have only met three times – all coming on neutral floors. The last meeting was a 60-51 Tar Heel victory in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Strangely, Carolina has been better on the road this year, boasting an impressive 7-1 overall record, including 6-1 in conference play.
Notre Dame leads the ACC in shooting at 51.3 percent against North Carolina’s defense that has limited its opponents to a conference best 35.3 percent from the field. Something has to give Thursday night.
The game will be broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL and streamed online through ESPN3.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/14-carolina-faces-stiffest-test-undefeated-notre-dame/
The Tar Heel men’s basketball team reentered the Top 25 rankings Monday.
20-7 Carolina landed at No. 19 in the AP poll and slid in at No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches rankings following a 3-0 week that included the upset victory over Duke.
And as for Duke, the Blue Devils check in at No. 6 in the AP and ranked No. 7 by the coaches following a 2-1 week that included the rivalry loss to the Tar Heels and a rematch victory against Syracuse.
25-2 Florida is the new No. 1 team in the nation in both polls, unseating Syracuse, now No. 4 and No. 5, following back-to-back defeats to Boston College and Duke.
New ACC frontrunner Virginia, 23-5 on the season, is ranked No. 11 by the coaches and No. 12 in the AP poll. And surprisingly, Durham’s NC Central received a vote in this week’s rankings.
As for the women, the 21-7 Tar Heels check in at No. 14, down three spots from last week in this week’s AP Top 25 after their stunning loss to Virginia Tech Sunday in Chapel Hill.
Connecticut remains the undisputed top-ranked team in the country while ACC member Notre Dame follows the Huskies at No. 2 with an unblemished record as well.
Also of note to ACC fans, Duke lands at No. 7 and Maryland ranks No. 9 in the latest poll released Monday.
You can view the complete men’s rankings here.
You can view the complete women’s rankings here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hoops-ranks-update-tar-heel-men-back-top-25-women-slide/
The No. 11 North Carolina women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a sluggish start and lost to Virginia Tech 50-47 Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena, dropping to 21-7 on the season and 9-5 in the ACC.
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With the upset victory, the Hokies improved to 13-14 overall and 3-11 in conference action.
“We’re not going to use an excuse that we’re young. We’re talented. We should’ve played better than we did. Even though Virginia Tech had something to do with this, we still did not play as good as we could play and it’s my responsibility to get them to that level,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
After a slow beginning that saw the Tar Heels fall behind 19-7 just eight minutes into the contest, Carolina turned on the defensive intensity and used a 13-0 run to grab the edge at 20-19 with 3:49 on the first half clock.
From there, the Tar Heels faced a tough battle in the second half with Stephanie Mavunga and Xylina McDaniel hooking up for scoring plays to fill the void of an off day for freshman sensation Diamond DeShields.
Danielle Butts provided a nice spark with two key baskets that helped Carolina capture the lead midway through the second half, but the Tar Heels could not hold on down the stretch against Virginia Tech.
DeShields struggled on the day, finishing with only eight points while Xylina McDaniel led the team with 13 points. Overall, Carolina shot a woeful 27 percent from the floor.
Vanessa Panousis led the scoring charge for the Hokies with 24 points, matching her career high.
Thanks to early turnovers and some hot shooting, the visiting Hokies raced out to a 12-point lead at 19-7 with 12 minutes to play in the opening half.
A couple baskets from DeShields kept Carolina in the contest as Xylina McDaniel popped in a score in transition to snap the Tar Heels back to attention.
Brittany Rountree made a nice streak around the basket for a score. McDaniel followed that one up with a three-point snipe that closed the Tar Heels within three points at 19-16 with 8:53 remaining in the half.
Mavunga worked her way to the foul line and knocked down one of the attempts to continue UNC’s surge. Carolina tied the game up at 19-19 with 4:34 before halftime.
With 3:49 on the first half clock, Allisha Gray made a free throw to break the tie and give Carolina the 20-19 edge. It was a 13-0 run for the Tar Heels as their defense was clamping down on the Hokie offense.
In the lowest scoring half for the Tar Heels this season, the score stood at 25-24 in favor of Virginia Tech.
The start of the closing half was all Hokies as they spurted out to a 30-24 advantage with 17 minutes remaining.
Carolina was finding it hard to find the nets until Gray knocked down a pair of free throws to break the cold spell.
But with 15:56 to play, the Tar Heels were trailing 32-26 to the last-place Hokies.
Mavunga scored inside on a layup to close the gap down to four points as the urgency was picking up in the contest. Virginia Tech responded, though as Campbell knocked down a jumper to push the Hokies back up 34-28 with under 14 minutes remaining.
Rountree worked her way to the line with some physical play. She got both shots to fall to trim the lead down to four points once again.
An explosive play by Danielle Butts ignited the crowd and tied the game at 36 points with under 11 minutes to go.
Gray scored her first basket of the day to give UNC the 38-36 advantage with 9:30 on the clock. The defensive pressure from the Tar Heels was giving the Hokie offense fits, generating turnovers.
Butts provided another boost with a dash to the basket and a score to continue the upward swing of momentum for Carolina.
DeShields scored her first points of the second half at a perfect moment to maintain the Tar Heel lead in the closing minutes of the game. Carolina led 43-41 with 4:59 to play.
Trailing by one with 2:47 to play, the Tar Heels committed a careless turnover on a pass out of bounds to hand the ball to the Hokies.
Crucially, DeShields was fouled on a three-point attempt in the late stages that cut the Virginia Tech lead down to a single point with 55 seconds to go in the game.
Panousis was sent to the line for Virginia Tech to give the Hokies the 48-45 advantage. McDaniel then made a two-point play to bring UNC to within one at 48-47 with 7 seconds remaining.
After a pair of Panousis free throws, Carolina’s three-point try was no good. Virginia Tech pulled off the massive upset.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a road trip to No. 2 Notre Dame Thursday.
Click here for the game photo gallery.