ACC Women’s Tournament Final: UNC vs. NC State Live Blog

Today the UNC Women play NC State in the Women’s ACC Championship. NC State has won 10 of its last 11 games since the return of Kay Yow from cancer treatment, including victories at home against UNC and yesterday against Duke, something the Heels couldn’t do. Ivory Latta is 9 points away from becoming UNC’s all-time leading scorer. For our sake, she better get that record, because we’d be in big trouble if she scored in single digits in this game, especially considering that that she shoots 15-20 times every game anyway. Both of these are evenly matched (with the exception of Latta), as both play a 7-player rotation.

1:08 pm: 3-0, UNC. The Tar Heels win the tip, and Latta immediately drains a three.

1:09 pm: 3-2, UNC. Whittington scores the first basket for the Pack, a midrange jumper.

That’s something I forgot to mention: Whittington, one of NC State’s best players, did not start against the Heels when we lost at Reynolds Coliseum. Having her is a big advantage for the Pack.

2:27 pm: 40-35, UNC. NC State has certainly lost the momentum, but this game is far from over. Khadija Washington hit only her second shot of the game. What’s worse is that those shots were 28 1/2 minutes from each other.

2:29 pm: 40-37, UNC. The heels need to show me the killer instinct right now. They’re having real trouble putting the Pack away.

1:10 pm: 4-3, NCSU. After the initial three, NC State is playing very good defense, and that’s leading to opportunities on the other end.

1:12 pm: 6-5, NCSU. Larkins gets her first basket, but the Pack are able to respond immediately with another midrange jumpshot.

1:17 pm: 9-5, NCSU. Ashley Key hits her second FG of the game, this time a three.

The Wolfpack women are well represented in the stands today.

1:19 pm: 11-7, NCSU. Jessica Breland is in the game; the Heels will need a good game out of her. But the Pack immediately hit another shot before Larkins ends the UNC scoring drought.

1:20 pm: 13-7, NCSU. The Tar Heels have five turnovers in seven minutes, and really seem to be mentally out of the game so far.

1:22 pm: Ivory Latta has been shockingly quiet so far in this game. She just committed an offensive foul, her second. I think that was a bad call. She took a misstep and tripped, and Ashley Key came in front of her so Latta could not avoid contact. She’s on the bench now.

1:25 pm: 15-7, NCSU. Goring, NC State’s center, makes a shot that was way too easy for UNC to give up.

1:28 pm: 20-9, NCSU. Camille Little finally scores for the Heels, but NC State continues to get easy shots while UNC can’t buy good shots.

I watch the Heels playing right know and the phrase “Persistent Vegetative State” comes to mind.

1:23 pm: 20-14, NCSU. Latta is forced back into the game and makes an immediate impact, hitting another three and getiing an easy layup. She’s 1 point away from the record.

1:31 pm: 20-16, NCSU. She did it! Ivory Latta is UNC’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,202 career points! She has scored the 7 unanswered points by herself since getting coming off the bench.

1:35 pm: 22-18, NCSU. What the Hell?…Chick-Fil-A has an inflated “Blimp” with a “cow” floating around the “arena”. Now that’s “strange”.

1:39 pm: 24-18, NCSU. Uh-oh. Latta just picked up her third foul. The Heels simply cannot afford to have her out for extended periods of time.

1:41 pm: 25-20, NCSU. Yes! I can finally figured out how to tell Rashanda McCants apart from her brother. She, unlike Rashad, actually plays defense. Rashad, on the other hand, actually plays offense. Keep that in mind the next time you’re confused.

1:45 pm: Am I the only person who saw Erlana Larkins behind the 3-point line at the top of the key and thought, “Shoot it!” because 1) she was wide open and 2) Even if she missed it would be the funniest shot ever?

1:47 pm: 25-22, NCSU. McCants scores again! Wow. Now I’m confused again.

1:48 pm: 25-24, NCSU. UNC has played absolutely shutdown defense, and Larkins gets an easy layup in transition. She’s a lot faster than she looks. UNC has outscored the Pack 15-5 since the three point play.

1:50 pm: NC State ends their scoring drought at the buzzer to take a 27-24 halftime lead. The first half has been dictated by long spurts of great defense by both teams, but NC State has the lead because they are winning the rebounding battle against the Tar Heels, and they have put Latta in foul trouble. For the Heels to win, Latta need to stay out of trouble in the second half, and the frontcourt of Larkins, Little, Pringle, and Breland must be more physical and dominate the post.

2:08 pm: 27-25, NCSU. Here’s a scary stat: that was just UNC first two free throws of the entire game. The frontcourt has to play more physical in the low post.

2:09 pm: 28-27, UNC. YESSS!!! Latta hits another three, and the Heels take the lead.

2:11 pm: Larkins still isn’t playing like the dominating offensive rebounder I know her to be. I have yet to see her get an offensive rebound.

2:13 pm: 30-27, UNC. Wow…Larkins is really fast for a big girl, isn’t she? She moves like a guard.

The Pack have yet to score in 4 minutes in the second half.

2:17 pm:34-29, UNC. Larkins scores on two straight possessions, but Ashley Key finally puts NC State on the board in the second half. Erlana has 13 now.

2:19 pm: 36-30, UNC. The Big Deuce (that’s my new nickname for Larkins) has taken over this game. She cannot be stopped.

2:20 pm: 38-30, UNC. It’s a little belated, but I have to ask: Can anyone recall the last time a McCants sibling wasn’t in foul trouble?

We are on a 29-10 run since being down 20-9 in the first half.

2:24 pm: 40-33, UNC. Ashley Key has NC State only two field goals in the first 9 minutes of the second half.

2:27 pm: 40-37, UNC. UNC needs to show me the killer instinct. They’re having serious trouble putting the Pack away.

2:32 pm: 44-41, UNC. NC State finally ties the game, but Latta hits a three on the very next possession. So far UNC has done what I’ve said they should do. Latta has stayed out of trouble, the Heels have continued to play good defense, and Larkins has taken over the offensive paint.

2:35 pm: As much as I want to hate the Wolfpack (as they commit their 17th turnover), I have to show my respect for Khadija Whittington. She’s a true warrior out on the court.

2:38 pm: 48-43, UNC. Oh crap. I leave the room for a minute, and i miss three baskets.

2:39 pm: 51-43, UNC. Rashanda McCants drains a three to extend the lead to 8. Now I’m really, really confused. WHO ARE YOU, RASHANDA?!?! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! OR TAKE OFF THAT WIG, RASHAD! OR SOMETHING! ANYTHING! BEFORE I PERFORM SURGERY ON MY OWN BRAIN!

2:44 pm: 53-47, UNC, 4:13 left. NC State hits a three, but Latoya Pringe is trying to make her own mark in the paint. Which reminds me, I haven’t heard much from Larkins in the last 8 minutes or so.

2:49 pm: 55-49, UNC, 2:45 left. The Heels commit a costly turnover. They cannot afford to do that in this stage of the game.

2:51 pm: 55-49, UNC, 1:52 left. It’s probably not Kosher to make fun of Coach Yow, but I would pay to see Sidney Lowe in that turetleneck. It looks really funny.

2:51 pm: 55-52, UNC, 1:32 left. God immediately smites me for that joke as the Pack hit a three and Larkins misses the 1+1 free throw. NC State now has a chance to tie.

2:54 pm: 57-52, UNC, :36 left. What a play by Latta! She lets the shot clock run down, she drive down the lane, busts a move, and gets open for the shot inside. She then gets the defensive rebound and is fouled to pretty much seal it.

2:56 pm: 59-52, UNC. To the fan in the stands: I appreciate your enthusiasm and wearing Carolina Blue, but it doesn’t make much sense to go to a women’s game in a Tyler Hansbrough jersey.

2:58 pm: 59-54, UNC. Mr. Wuf exists in a computer-generated dream world, blissfully oblivious to the truth: NC State is about to lose and there is nothing that smile on his face can do about it.

3:00 pm: It’s official: THE NORTH CAROLINA LADY TAR HEELS HAVE WON THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP! The final score: 59-54. Congratulations to the Tar Heels for winning, and many thanks from Tar Heel Mania for a great season. On to the UNC-Duke game.

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ACC Women’s Tournament: UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

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