In a gritty battle of the unbeatens, No. 6 UNC fell to No. 14 Oregon State in a 70-55 loss Tuesday evening in Carmichael Arena. North Carolina now sits with a 9-1 record, and Oregon State is lifted to 8-0.
The Tar Heels didn’t clench a lead once during the match and finally scored their first basket at 17:30 in the first half with a turn around jumper by sophomore standout Stephanie Mavunga.
UNC’s frontcourt was stifled for most of the game due to Oregon State’s immense height advantage. Mavunga was up against the likes of 6-foot-6 OSU junior Ruth Hamblin, who dominated the paint with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell says her team is still very good, but Oregon State’s defense is one they just couldn’t match up with.
“Our shooting was really, really bad tonight,” Coach Hatchell said. “I think inside the size bothered our inside game because our numbers weren’t good in there. (Xylina McDaniel) was 3-17 and Stephanie was 5-17 and they usually both score well inside. But we’ve got to learn to play against size like that, and they will – tonight was a different experience, we’ll learn from it.”
Carolina trailed at the half for the first time all season at 37-25, and couldn’t manage to catch back up to the Beavers later in the game.
Oregon State led by as much as 20 points in the second half behind consecutive threes from their sharpshooting squad, currently listing three of the top seven three-point shooters in school history. OSU finished 7-28 from behind the arc, while UNC was only 1-14.
The Beavers have now won their first road game against a top-10 opponent in program history. UNC was the highest placed team to fall to OSU since Oregon State upset No. 3 Stanford in 1992.
“This is huge, it’s a pretty great feeling,” Hamblin said of winning and making history. “It’s a great feeling, especially as a team, we executed and earned this. It’s definitely a big step for the program. Obviously what (Head Coach Scott Rueck) has been doing over the past five years has just been progressively taking steps forward and after making the NCAA Tournament last year, I think this is just another step forward.”
Sophomore Allisha Gray led the way for the Heels with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Mavunga followed behind with 14 points and 7 boards.
OSU’s leaders include junior Jamie Weisner with 14 on 3-7 behind the three-point line and sophomore Sydney Weise with 13 points.
North Carolina will travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Friday to face Maine in the first game of their holiday tournament.