Chapel Hill NC – The battle for Tobacco Road supremacy was heavily contested in Chapel Hill from the beginning until the end when the #15 ranked Duke Lady Blue Devils (15-5, 4-3 ACC) faced off against the North Carolina Lady Tar Heels (14-6, 4-3 ACC). In the end, the Lady Tar Heels defeated the Lady Blue Devils 92-86 in a wild fighting fashion and career high’s.
Before the game Coach Sylvia Hatchell had a pregame ceremony where she received a jersey, custom-made Nike Air Jordan sneakers, and a banner drop which signified her reaching her 1,000th career win on Dec. 19, 2017.
Carolina’s Paris Kea lead the team and had a career high 36 points along with 6 steals, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Followed by a great outing by guards Leah Church, who had a career high 19 points, and Jamie Cherry, who finished with a career high 13 assists, 22 points and 4 steals .
Carolina was down as much as 19 points early in the first half but battled back. Thanks to Kea Cherry and Church, UNC hit a pair of three’s, free-throws, and had four turnovers which closed the lead to only one point going into halftime.
Paris Kea hit the game-tying three-pointer as time expired at the end of regulation sending the game into overtime. After the game she stated, “I knew it (shot) was going in. I’ve had a slump especially from beyond the arch, I’ve just went to the gym and put in the work.” Before the game, Kea ranked fourth in the ACC in both scoring at 18.8 points and assists with 6.1 per game, and also checks in seventh with 2.3 steals per game.
UNC only led one time throughout regulation and that only lasted about 10 seconds before Duke responded with a quick jumper. Unlike regulation, the Lady Tar Heels outscored the Lady Blue Devils 20-14.
The highs the Lady Tar Heels won the turnover battle only giving up 15, which led to 30 points from turnovers. Eighteen of which were fast break points.
With passion and determination, Coach Hatchell put it simply, “We had to win this game; the fight that these ladies put on to show heart, camaraderie and toughness.”
The lows: the Lady Tar Heels were out rebounded 41-27 which shows they were not controlling the glass which would normally lead to another offensive possession or a fast break. The Lady Tar Heels also only shot the ball 45% from the field and only 38% from beyond the arch which still has been a persistent problem for Lady Tar Heels this season and they need to improve going forward.
The Lady Tar Heels will be back in action at home against the Miami Lady Hurricanes Sunday February 4th at 2 pm.
PHOTOS: Donald Watson