CHAPEL HILL, NC – With 5.9 secs left in the fourth quarter North Carolina’s weakened defense allowed Chyna Ellis to sneak in a lay-up.
The Lady Tar Heels lost another tough game late, this time against South Alabama. The 85-84 loss is the second home loss now for Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s unit. Paris Kea put UNC up with 15 seconds left, but it was South Alabama’s Chyna Ellis who would get the last laugh on a successful jumper with six seconds left to stun the home team in Chapel Hill. This back and forth game saw 12 ties and nine lead changes in this early season nail-biter.
Four games in to the season and it is safe to say that this team is on a roller-coaster ride. After losing to Hampton University to open the season, North Carolina bounced back to defeat a tough Colorado team, then got upset at home Sunday versus South Alabama. Despite the ups and downs, it is a few things that we learned after today’s game to take note of moving forward.
Paris Kea is Legit!
Kea shined tonight with a career-high 31 points. She also managed to record 11 assists and only one turnover, as she had ten turnovers coming in to the season. The Tarboro-native is also shooting a team high 59% from the field. If she can be the rock that the Tar Heels can lean on, they could go far as we get closer to March. She currently leads the ACC in scoring (23.3 ppg) and steals (3.7).
Two’s a Company, Three’s a Problem
In the Lady Tar Heels’ two losses this season, they have given up a combined 26 three-pointers, while only managing to hit seven threes
in those two games. UNC will need to figure out a way to run their opponents off of the three-point line more often to prevent teams from getting these great looks from deep.
Speaking with Coach Hatchell after the game, she ensured to me that her team usually shoots it better from behind the arch, but it was not there on Sunday. She mentioned that Jamie [Cherry] just had an “off night” against South Alabama. Leah Church also got her first basketball action in over a month, knocking down her only shot of the game, which was from deep, in ten minutes of action. Church and Cherry could both provide some depth in the shooting category as the season grows older.
Lack of Identity
Paris Kea is doing damage, and I will admit that forward Janelle Bailey is stepping up as a freshman, but who will really be that second person that will step up and join Kea as part of a dynamic duo that can put pressure on opponents and opposing coaches moving forward? Senior Jamie Cherry has the experience and skill set to be that person. Can we expect Bailey to step up? Jocelyn Jones is one
person who is a very sturdy option in the paint on both ends of the court.
Coach Sylvia Hatchell mentioned that “We’ve got to do a better job basically defensively , rebounding, and we have to play more physical.” “I think that was obvious tonight the amount of physicality of the game was tremendous.” her team needed to “learn from it and move on.”
Look for Coach Hatchell’s unit to learn from their mistakes and bounce back, as the Lady Tar Heels will host the Lady Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington on Wednesday, November 22nd at 7 pm.
(Photos Courtesy of the University of North Carolina Athletics)