It wasn’t this game — once again the short-handed Heels had their legs give out in the back half of the third quarter — but they did snap their rotten ACC losing streak on Sunday at BC.
We have VT on Thursday and hopefully we’ll start a winning streak this time around.
The very young, very short-benched Lady Heels are hitting a wall — with a short bench shortened further by the loss of Xylina McDaniel to an ACL tear for the rest of the season — and they’ve struggled continually since beating Syracuse a few weeks ago. We took my folks to see them play Miami, and while they hung in their for a half, Miami pulled away at the end of the game. They dropped Thursday’s game at Georgia Tech and face a deeper Duke team in Cameron this afternoon.
It’s hard watching the seniors — Hillary Summers, Xylina McDaniel missing her second straight season, N’Dea Bryant — suffer through this season, really hard. But we’re still watching and cheering and loving them.
Full Miami set is here.
Carolina started off the ACC season with two wins (before getting absolutely outgunned by a deep, talented Notre Dame team on the road yesterday). Trav wrote about Clemson here and Syracuse here.
My full photo sets are available in this collection.
Last December, Trav came up to see me a couple weeks before Christmas, our last visit before he and his guitars moved here, and on a whim, I bought tickets to the App State / UNC women’s basketball game, just so we had something to do.
We, of course, had so much fun we bought a smaller package last year, and full season tickets this year, and App State is kind of another anniversary for us.
It wasn’t quite the rout that last year’s game was, but the Heels won, and I am deeply fond of both this basketball team and my boyfriend.
(Sylvia, on the other hand, wasn’t fond of the officiating. I love this photo because it’s the same face that Sylvia CATchell makes when her sister pees in the water bowl.)
The final was NU 85, Heels 72, but make no mistake: it was not that close. This game was an absolute ass-whooping from the start at the hands of a bigger, more experienced Northwestern team, but I have to say — the last ten minutes, when the Heels finally pulled together and fought back to as close as only 8 down (a far cry from the nearly-30 down in the 3Q), those ten minutes were a glimpse of how good this team could be and hopefully will be. They’re young. They fluster easily. They struggled early, got rolled down the hill by the momentum of that struggle, but ultimately put their foot down and hauled themselves back up.
It wasn’t fun, but it was surprisingly illuminating in ways I didn’t expect.
Heels put a whooping on Florida A&M last night, one of those whoopings so bad that it kind of even stops being interesting. Destinee Walker (32) and Stephanie Watts (27) combined to outscore the Rattlers just by themselves. But yes: a win is more fun than a loss.
Trav and I went all-in on the UNC women’s basketball team this year, buying a full-season package of tickets and upgrading ourselves to the best seats we could afford — and they’re good ones indeed. The team had some upheaval in the off-season — a handful of transfers out — that leaves them reasonably young and inexperienced on paper, but “young” doesn’t mean “bad” or “untalented” or, God forbid, “not fun”. This team is young, but they’re also good, talented, and fun. I like fun basketball, is all.
I’m not sure that dropping a 1 point game to Gardner-Webb on a buzzer beater is fun, but it was reasonably illuminating in the categories of “young” and “talented” and “inexperienced” — a lot sloppy, some expectations that might not have been backed up by play, but there was a lot good to see. Point guard Jamie Cherry is ready to lead the team on the floor (she sees the big picture on the court damn well) and probably in scoring, and freshmen Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts are going to make big contributions right off. And this is a young team, a young team that’s probably going to lose some they should win, but hopefully win a few they should lose, too.
Sunday’s game against Oregon — the second of a home and home; Carolina won in Eugene last year — was another heartbreaker of a similar nature. A bigger, quicker Oregon team struggled for a lot of the game but took control late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Carolina hustled back and had the ball with the shot clock off, down two. Jamie Cherry had not one but two three pointers rim out in the final seconds, and another sad outcome. But the way they got themselves back into, after being down ten late, I liked that. I liked that a lot.