Tonight UNC plays Tennessee in game 2 of the Final Four for the right to play Rutgers in the National Championship. The game can come down to who will dominate the paint. Candace Parker is the most talented player in America, but UNC has four players that can make big contributions inside. The Vols will likely need good three point shooting if Parker struggles. Ivory Latta will also need to come up big for the Tar Heels.
9:10 pm: I may not be a Dook fan, but Trey Wingo, why do you have to make Lindsey Harding relive that moment? No one should have to put up with that.
9:19 pm: Candace Parker’s boyfriend is Dookie Shelden Williams. Boooooo….
Tennessee has played a extremely well, but they haven’t been challenged by a good team in the tournament yet.
9:30 pm: 2-0, Tenn. Parker gets the games first points of the game on the free throw line.
9:32 pm: Neither team has shot the ball well so far. This game is a lot faster than the LSU-Rutgers game. However, it is also decidedly sloppier.
9:35 pm: Latoya Pringle is playing great defense, but she already has two fouls.
9:36 pm: 4-0, Tenn. Parker gets the first field goal of the game, a floater inside. Alex Miller had no chance.
9:40 pm: 5-0, Tenn. I have been shocked by 1) how well both teams have played defense and 2) how bad UNC is shooting. I think both teams have combined for 1 of 20 shooting.
9:41 pm: 5-2, Tenn. Hallelujah!!! Rashanda McCants scores a layup off a great pass by Latta to end the scoring drought of the Tar Heels.
9:46 pm: 7-6, Tenn. The Heels bring the lead down to 1, as Ivory Latta hits a jumper over 5’2″ Shana Bobbitt.
Official Timeout. 11:30 left. Latta has two fouls.
9:49 pm: 8-7, UNC. Latta scores again over Bobbitt, and UNC takes their first lead of the game.
9:51 pm: This game has been really sloppy so far. Give credit to the defense, but when there are more turnovers than points on the board, something’s wrong. Tennessee has just committed their second shot clock violation.
9:54 pm: This is not good. Ivory Latta has 3 fouls, and is forced to sit on the bench. Parker is on the bench with 2. Let’s see if Alex Miller can step up.
9:55 pm: 10-9, UNC. Larkins gives the great pass to Iman McFarland, who scores to give UNC the lead back.
Neither Larkins nor Little have scored yet.
9:56 pm: 12-9, UNC. Little finally gets on the board with a turnaround shot inside.
This game is a lot more physical than I expected. It’s going to take a lot of energy out of both of teams, which benefits Rutgers no matter who wins.
Official timeout. 7:17 left, first half.
9:59 pm: 12-12. How do you allow Sidney Spencer to get such an easy layup? Even worse, how do you commit such a bad foul afterwards?
10:01 pm: 14-12, Tenn. UPDATE: Total points: 26. Total turnovers: 23.
10:02 pm: 16-14, UNC. McCants scores to tie game, and LIttle gives UNC the lead.
10:03 pm: 17-16, Tenn. Shannon Bobbitt hits the three to give the lead back to the Lady Vols.
Both of these teams are spending a lot of energy trying to win this game.
10:06 pm: No matter who wins, you have to commend the effort given by both of these teams. 3:22 left, first half.
Latoya Pringle is playing insane defense right now.
10:10 pm: 18-17, UNC. Larkins hits two free throws to give the lead back to the Heels.
21-17, UNC. Who knew that Rashanda McCants would be our biggest offensive threat? She drains a three to bring the lead to four.
10:11 pm: 21-20, UNC. After being decleated on a Camille Little screen, Bobbitt hits a three from the baseline to cut the lead to 1.
10:12 pm: 22-21, Tenn. Great passing by Tennessee give them a open look inside to give the lead back to the Lady Vols.
UNC continues to turn the ball over. I know it doesn’t concern Sylvia Hatchell, but it really concerns me.
Suddenly Tennessee is getting all the rebounds! What the hell?
10:16 pm: Tennessee commits another shot clock violation near the end. Tennessee leads, 22-21 at halftime. The game was very, very sloppy, but that was in part because of both teams’ defensive hustle. Parker and Latta have both been ineffective in foul trouble. For UNC, they to take advantage of the opportunities that their defense gives them. That means making their inside shots and continuing to dominate the boards. Right C. Vivian Stringer is smiling, because both of these teams are spending a lot of energy trying to beat each other. Which team does that favor? Rutgers!
10:32 pm: Wow. I just looked up that guy from the Orbitz commercials, Wink Martindale, and only now do I find out that’s he’s an actual former game show host. You know, I actually wish I didn’t know that.
10:34 pm: 24-21, Tenn. Anosike hits a shot inside to start the second half. UNC continues to turn the ball over. I think they have 17 now.
10:36 pm: 26-21, Tenn. Candace Parker gets the basket and the foul on Erlana Larkins. A great play by Parker.
But that reminds me: Larkins has yet to hit a field goal in this game. If she doesn’t score, we lose. Simple.
10:39 pm: 27-24, Tenn. Ivory Latta hits a three, only our second of the game, making it a one possession.
10:40 pm: 27-26, Tenn. Larkins hits a tough layup inside, her first basket of the game.
Shannon Bobbit is decleated again on a screen, this time by Latoya Pringle. She may have gotten a concussion. These teams are starting to play this like a football game.
10:42 pm: 28-27, UNC. Little’s turnaround jumper rattles in, and UNC takes the lead back.
10:43 pm: First official timeout of the second half. If UNC wins, Pringle gets the game ball. Her defense has been vital to our staying in the game.
10:46 pm: 31-27, UNC. A great pass by Larkins, and Latta hits another three. The Heels have scored the last 10 points.
10:47 pm: 33-27, UNC. Another empty trip for Tennessee, and another basket for the Tar Heels, this time by Little. The lead is now six.
10:48 pm: 33-29, UNC. What a play by McCants to get the block and keep the ball in bounds! And Shannon Bobbitt feels…rejected!!! Words can hardly describe that insane play.
10:51 pm: 38-29, UNC. YYYYEEEEEAAAHHHH!!! More great defense by the Tar Heels, McCants in particular, leads to two straight easy baskets in transition, and UNC is blowing the doors open on this game, forcing Pat Summitt to take a timeout.
Da-da-da-DAAAA-da! U! da-da-da-da-da-da-DAAAA-da! N! da-da-da-da-da-da-DAAAA-da! C! da-da-da-da-da-da U-N-C!!! GO HEELS GO!!! da-da-da-da-da-da-da-Da! WHOOOOOO!!!!
10:53 pm: 38-31, UNC, 11:34 left. Official timeout. UNC is in control of the game right now, but they’re not out of the woods yet.
10:57 pm: 41-31, UNC. Miller’s three gets the lucky bounce, and UNC has the first double digit lead of the game. Meanwhile, Tennessee has only 9 points in as many minutes.
10:59 pm: 43-32, UNC. McCants has played absolutely lights out in this game. Which is strange, because I think she’s been dogging it for most of the season, not giving her full effort. But Rashanda has absolutely played the game of her life tonight.
11:00 pm: 43-34, UNC. The big blemish for us right now: fouls. Little has four, and Pringle and Latta each have three.
11:01 pm: 46-36, UNC. That’s what you want out of Latta! The drive, the basket, and the foul! WHOOOOOO!!!
11:02 pm: 48-36, UNC. Larkins drives inside against Anosike, and she gets the layup easily.
11:03 pm: 48-40, UNC. 7:13 left. UNC commits two straight turnovers, which lead to two straight baskets by the Vols. I hope the Heels don’t get sloppy with the ball and let their lead get away late.
11:07 pm: UNC commits another turnover, this time a shot clock violation. They can’t afford to come up empty on possessions late.
11:09 pm: I think we’ve lost the momentum we had earlier, as this game has returned to its previous sloppiness. If UNC doesn’t do something, this game could end the same way the men’s game ended against Georgetown.
Pringle picks up her fourth foul. I think God is punishing me for my hubris from about 20 minutes ago.
11:12 pm: 48-42, UNC. Camille Little fouls out on an offensive foul. I’m sorry but that call was bull. Spencer’s feet were moving. With five minutes to go, UNC is losing focus, and this game is feeling eerily like the men’s game against Georgetown.
11:14 pm: 4:35 left. Pringle fouls out as well. with time running out, it will be up to Jessica Breland to play alongside Larkins in the paint from now on.
11:16 pm: 48-46, UNC. Tennessee has scored the last 10 points. UNC hasn’t scored since Larkins hit the layup with 8 minutes left.
Final official timeout.
11:20 pm: 50-46, UNC. 3:43 left. Latta hits two free throws to extend the lead to 4.
11:22 pm: 50-48, UNC, 3:09 left. UNC is forced to take two straight timeouts. We now have only one left. This is not good. We are not executing well at all.
11:24 pm: McCants is hurt after missing a jumpshot. I know that Pringle and Little have fouled out, but we still need to drive inside.
11:26 pm: 50-50, 2:00 left. Anosike scores with a putback of her own miss. Anosike steals the ball on the next possession and Breland is forced to foul.
11:27 pm: 51-50, Tenn, 1:44 left. We still haven’t hit a field goal since the 8:00 mark. Anosikie hits one of two free throws to take the lead.
11:31 pm: 53-50, Tenn, :31 left. The Tar Heels look completely out of gas right now, but it’s hard to win when you commit 29 turnovers.
11:33 pm: 54-50, Tenn, :24.2 left. Latta’s three pointer hits the back iron, and Hornbuckle gets the rebound.
11:37 pm: The game ends, as Tennessee wins, 56-50. The Lady Vols outscore the Heels 20-2 to end the game, as UNC runs completely out of gas. This game ends freakishly the same way as the UNC-Georgetown game. The Tar Heels make a run to put themselves in control of the game midway through the second half. With seven and a half minutes left, the Tar Heels have the game in hand. But in the end, UNC looks completely out of sync, and the opponent gets a second wind out of their #55 center (in this case, Nicky Anosike). The Vols play great defense down the stretch, make all of their free throws, and UNC completely runs out of gas. It’s a shame to see the careers of Ivory Latta and Camille Little end this way; they’re two of the best players ever to don Carolina blue. Latoya Pringle played absolutely shutdown defense, and Rashanda McCants had the game of her life. But UNC was too sloppy the whole game, and they couldn’t buy shot late because, just like the men, they deviated from their inside game. The season was successful as a whole, and UNC gave a great effort even as the game was lipping away. But it is truly sad to see Ivory Latta, the best player in UNC Women’s basketball history, end her career short of a title.
I’ll be live blogging the National Championships on Monday and Tuesday on Digital Headbutt. I am definitely rooting for Rutgers, but I’m torn on the men’s matchup. Do I choose dignity and root for the Gators, or do I choose infamy, watch Ohio State win, and lose in my bracket challenge to a penny? I can;t believe I’m actually thinking about this one.l