Today the Lady Tar Heels face the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC Women’s Tournament semifinals. In their first matchup, UNC dominated for the first 28 minutes, but Maryland stormed back, and the Heels needed all of their effort to hold on in from of the largest crowd ever to see a women’s ACC regular season game. Because of Duke’s dominance in the ACC regular season, this game has considerably less hype, but a #1 seed is one the line for each team, and such a seed would be out of reach for the loser, and would probably mean playing most of the tournament far away from home. Consider also that they both want another shot at the Dookies, and this game is going to be very, very intense. At least today I don;t have to worry about Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!
4:02 pm: Scratch that last statement. NC State just beat Dook in the first semifinal, 70-65. Since the return of Kay Yow, few teams have played better than the Wolfpack.
4:36 pm: 2-0, UNC. Camille Little gets the game’s first basket off the offensive rebound of a Latta miss. I hope that’s not an omen, Latta missing her first shot.
4:38 pm: 4-2, UNC. I swear to God, Rashanda McCants looks like Rashad in drag. Kristi Toliver scores Maryland’s first basket.
4:40 pm: 7-4, UNC. Latta buries the three this time. Shay Doron responds, but the Terps have committed 4 turnovers in as many minutes.
4:42 pm: 7-6, UNC. Coleman drives across and gets a nice layup to reduce the Heels lead to 1. Conversely, UNC has committed their third offensive foul.
4:47 pm: 9-6, UNC. McCants gets a nice basket off an offensive rebound, but she needs to be careful; she’s in foul trouble already. Jessica Breland comes in and scores to make it 11-6, UNC.
4:49 pm: 13-12, UNC. Maryland again brings it to within one. Larkins gets her first basket, but Jade Perry has scored the last four points for Maryland.
4:51 pm: 15-12, UNC. Breland scores an easy jumpshot off the inbound pass.
4:52 pm: 17-15, UNC. Today, UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell looks like some sort of Tar Heel Zebra in that suit. Someone please tell her that the elephants can still see her in the African Savanna.
4:57 pm: 19-17, UNC. Maryland ties the game for the first time, but Larkins immediately outhustles Langhorne to the opposite basket and gets an easy layup.
5:00 pm: 23-17, UNC. Larkins is absolutely dominating the offensive paint right now. She has 8 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes.
5:03 pm: 23-19, UNC. There is no situation in which putting Latta man-to-man on Langhorne could possibly end well.
5:08 pm: This has really been a sloppy game so far. Neither team can get any rhythm.
5:12 pm: 26-20, UNC. Ivory Latta ends my nightmare by hitting a three. I was really starting to get worried; both teams were getting good opportunities, but they did not take advantage of them.
5:14 pm: 28-24, UNC. Larkins gets another easy layup, but McCants gets her third foul.
5:15 pm: 30-24, UNC. Jessica Breland hits another midrange shot. She’s 3-3 today.
5:18 pm: 32-25, UNC. Now this is what I;ve come to expect from Ivory Latta. She steals a pass, outruns everyone down the court and gets an easy layup.
5:20 pm: 32-30, UNC. Crystal Langhorne gets a tough basket inside, and then Shay Doron gets three the hard way off an offensive rebound.
5:21 pm: 34-30, UNC. Jessica Breland is going to be a great player next year playing starting forward alongside Larkins and Pringle.
5:22 pm: 37-30, UNC. Little drains a three to extend the lead to 7 with a minute left in the first half.
5:24 pm: A nice offensive set, but Ivory, what the Hell kind of shot is that?!? you’re all alone, you don’t need a floater.
5:25 pm: The first half ends, UNC leading 37-30. UNC played excellent defense, and their offense got hot at the end of the half. If they’re able to keep the pressure on Maryland and win the rebounding battle, they should pull out a win in this game. Maryland needs to get more production out of Langhorne and Doron to make a comeback.
5:44 pm: 42-32, UNC. Larkins helps the Heels get their first double-digit lead of the game to start the second half.
5:45 pm: 42-39, UNC. The Tar Heels proceed to immediately let Maryland cut the lead to three in less than 90 seconds.
5:50 pm: 44-39, UNC. Ivory Latta drive down the baseline and gets a nice layup. We need to see more of that out of her and not as many errant threes.
5:53 pm: 44-43, UNC. Maryland has started getting the ball to Langhorne in the second half, and She has played very well in the last few minutes against Larkins.
I noticed that Breland was hurt at halftime. I don;t know if or when she will return, but I can’t help but wonder if UNC frontcourt will be worn down in her absence.
5:55 pm: Langhorne is out with 3 fouls.
5:56 pm: Latta hits a big three to bring the momentum back in UNC’s direction.
5:58 pm: UPSET WATCH: Michigan 61, Ohio St, 59, 2:21 left.
5:59 pm: 47-45, UNC. Coleman hits an easy jumpshot in transition, but Harper picks up her 4th foul.
6:03 pm: 52-45, UNC. Camille Little hits another three out of the TV timeout. Langhorne picks up her fourth foul. Maryland’s frontcourt is in real trouble right now.
6:04 pm: 54-48, UNC. Jessica Breland is back in the game. This fares badly for the Terps, who have just committed their 19th turnover.
6:06 pm: 54-50, UNC. Shay Doron makes an unbelievable play, drives down the baseline, gets the reverse layup and the foul. Shockingly, she misses her free throw.
6:12 pm: 58-53, UNC. How does UNC leave a 3-point shooter that wide open? That’s the double-edged sword of halfcourt traps, I guess.
6:13 pm: 61-53, UNC. What? Jessica Breland just hit a three! She now has 13 points, and I did not expect a performance like this from her at all.
6:15 pm: 62-55, UNC. Langhorne and Harper, each with four fouls, come in for Maryland.
6:16 pm: 64-55, UNC. Latta gets an easy layup after faking out two players to extend the UNC lead to 9.
6:18 pm: 66-57, UNC. Toliver finally gets a basket in the second half, but Latoya Pringle answers.
6:19 pm: 66-60, UNC. Kristi Toliver, who had previously been a non-factor, hits her second straight shot, this time a three. Why she wasn’t doing this before, or why she’s only doing it now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around.
6:23 pm: 66-62, UNC, 3:46 left. Maryalnd scores from the free throw line, steal the inbound pass, and suddenly have all the momentum.
6:24 pm: 66-65, UNC, 3:35 left. Doron receives a kickout pass, drains the three, and the deficit is cut to one.
6:26 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:51 left. UNC commits another turnover (the 43rd total turnover of the game), but Maryland travels, unable to take advantage of the opportunity to tie or take the lead.
6:29 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:12 left. A huge scrum (during which Maryland should have been called for a foul on Larkins) ends in a bloody nose for Doron, but UNC turns the ball over again.
6:31 pm: 67-67, 1:56 left. Toliver steps on the line, but Maryland clearly has the momentum.
6:32 pm: 71-67, UNC, 1:00 left. UNC gets two huge baskets, the first by Larkins in the paint, and the second an easy layup by Latta off a great rebound and pass by Alex Miller.
6:34 pm: 71-67, UNC, :51 left. Doron is back in the game, but Maryland is forced to take their final timeout.
6:35 pm: 73-67, UNC, :32 left. Shay Doron is left open for a three, but Latoya Pringle comes out of nowhere to block the shot. Latta hits two free throws to extend the lead to 6.
6:38 pm: 75-69, UNC, :15 left. Barring a complete meltdown at the free throw line and Maryland making it rain threes, this game is over.
6:41 pm: The game ends: UNC wins, 78-72. This game is big for the Tar Heels, because it not only means that they go to the ACC championship game against NC State, but Duke’s loss makes it that much easier for them to win the ACC and sew up a #1 seed in the tournament. Then again, We were a #1 seed last year and Maryland was a #2 seed, and look what happened. So I guess that doesn’t mean much. But this win is still very good for the Heels’ confidence knowing after their last three losses that they still are very capable of winning the national championship