Chapel Hill, NC – The University of North Carolina Lady Tar Heels (11-5, 1-2 ACC) narrowly beat the University of Pittsburgh Lady Panthers 68-67 following Jamie Cherry’s go ahead mid-range jumper and Pitt’s two misses at the free throw line with 2.1 seconds left.
The Lady Tar Heels are coming out of a three-game losing drought to Boston College, Florida State, and Mercer. Why have they been losing comes down to four main points: turnovers, foul trouble, three-point percentage , and closing out games in the second half.
Turnovers have been a constant problem for the Lady Tar Heels within the last three games they have produced an above average with 49 turnovers which is about 16 per game. Against the Lady Panthers they only had 15, but the Panthers would use that to their advantage getting 20 points off of those turnovers. Let’s be clear the probability of winning games dwindles drastically when you turn the ball over, the more you turn the ball over the further you have to dig yourself out of a hole.
Foul trouble has been consistent recently over the three-game drought they produced an eye opening 65 fouls which is about 21 per game. Against the Lady Panthers they only fouled ten times and with Pitt not capitalizing on the trips to the foul line luckily this didn’t go against the Tar Heels favor. If the Lady Tar Heels plan on making a run in the ACC/NCAA tournament they have to play off the ball more and limit fouls.
The shooting from beyond the arch has simply been atrocious over the three-game drought posting a low of just 19.2%. Luckily in today’s game, Jamie Cherry (5-for-11 she lead the team with 22 points, four assists, and three rebounds) and Leah Church (2-for-3 also contributed eight points off the bench) had something to say about that. Even though they only shot 36.8% that’s nearly double what they have posted within the last three games, so they have shown improvement.
Late Game Woes
When it comes to the Lady Tar Heels, I feel like they need to do a better job closing games out and managing the second half. Over the three game drought they have been outscored by 11 points, 16 points, and nine points respectively and can’t seem to put the finishing touches on the game to get over the hump. Even in Sunday’s game the Lady Tar Heels were outscored 37-35 in the second half which almost gave the game away, but luckily with the Lady Panthers missing their last four shot attempts to seal their fate. It all comes down to the fact that they are still a young team learning the pace of the game and especially with nothing but ACC ranked teams in the weeks to come. The Lady Tar Heels return to action Thursday, January 11th against the Clemson Lady Tigers at 7pm.