The North Carolina women's basketball team recorded its lowest point total this season, with a 49-45 win over Villanova Wednesday night in Carmichael Auditorium. The victory was the team's first while shooting under 39 percent. Carolina shot 14-of-50 for the game, yet the Heels held Villanova to 25 percent with 15-of-61 shooting.
"You've got to give Villanova credit. They controlled the tempo," said Tar Heel head coach Sylvia Hatchell. "They made us play their style of basketball."
Villanova opened up the game with a quick lead of 11-7 with 11:45 remaining in the first half. Sparked by free throws from Chrystal Baptist and a drive by Jennifer Thomas, the Heels went on a 12-3 run during a five minute span that ended with 3:45 to go in the first half.
The Heels were led by guard Coretta Brown, who finished the first half one rebound short of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Starting power forward Jennifer Thomas chipped in at half with five points and five rebounds.
Villanova managed to crawl their way back into the game with offensive rebounding and continuing to follow their game plan of relying on threes. The Wildcats finished the game with 38 attempted three-point shots, connecting on 14 of them.
"I thought we did what we wanted to do," Villanova head coach Harry Perretta said. "We tried to shoot as many threes as possible. We didn't want to turn the ball over."
That game plan kept the Wildcats within striking distance. Villanova took the lead on two free throws by Courtney Mix around the 6 minute mark. The lead was short lived-- Nikita Bell gambled on a steal and connected on the other end with a lay-up. The Heels took the lead 41-40.
Nikki Teasley added a tip-in with three minutes remaining to put the Heels up by five, 45-40. Villanova power forward Nicole Druckenmiller drilled her third three of the ball game, which threatened to make for a tight finish.
Hatchell made the call for an isolation play for Brown. Brown crossed-over and drove down the lane, and her shot fired off the back rim. Candace Sutton was there for the tip-in plus the foul. Sutton hit the free throw and the Heels finalized the win, 49-45.
Brown, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, said after the game, "I think we lucked [out]. We played lethargic."
"I felt like coming off Monday's game, I would be in a good rhythm," said Teasley, who struggled from the floor all game long finishing with seven points and one assist. " I was more frustrated with my play rather than the other team."
Coach Hatchell said that while this game was not played well, it can still be helpful going into the big matchup against N.C. State on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"Maybe this game will get us more focused for not just Sunday but the remainder of the regular season," Hatchell said.
Sutton added nine points and six rebounds, but struggled from the field shooting 4-of-12. Villanova's leading scorer was starting guard Trish Juhline who was held to ten points, four below her average.
Davis 3-9 0-0 8, Druckenmiller 3-7 0-0 9, Baker 3-8 0-0 7, Juhline 3-15 2-3 10, Mix 1-11 2-5 5, Hilgenberg 2-3 0-0 4, Harris 0-5 0-0 0, Nash 0-2 0-0 0, Rediger 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 15-61 6-10 45.
NORTH CAROLINA (49)
Thomas 1-3 3-4 5, Brown 5-12 2-5 15, Sutton 4-12 1-4 9, Metcalf 0-3 2-2 2, Teasley 2-9 2-2 7, Bell 2-4 2-2 6, McBee 0-3 1-4 1, Chambers 0-1 0-0 0, Baptist 0-3 4-4 4, Laaksonen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-50 17-27 49.
Halftime: North Carolina 27-23. 3-Point goals: Villanova 9-38 (Druckenmiller 3-6, Davis 2-8, Juhline 2-11, Baker 1-2, Mix 1-3, Hilgenberg 0-1, Nash 0-2, Harris 0-5), North Carolina 4-10 (Brown 3-5, Teasley 1-4, Metcalf 0-1). Fouled out: Mix, Bell. Rebounds: Villanova 38 (Baker 13), North Carolina 52 (Brown 11). Assists: Villanova 14 (Juhline, Mix 4), North Carolina 5 (Bell 2). Total fouls: Villanova 18, North Carolina 16. A: 1,003.