UNC vs. Tennessee: Wow, I Just Had the Worst April Fools Joke Played on Me

Yesterday someone tried to pull the WORST April Fools joke on me. Last night I was watching last night’s women’s final four game between UNC and Tennessee, and I saw UNC gain a 12 point lead with about 8 minutes to go, and then Camille Little and Latoya Pringle fouled out on questionable calls. Then the Heels couldn’t buy a basket late, committed 29 turnovers for the game, and the Vols stormed back to win by 6. I can’t believe I almost fell for that joke! The game and the comeback was so believable until the Little foul, and the late turnovers. People are getting really good at this April Fools thing.

Wait…that really happened? Oh, crap.

Some thoughts from yesterday…

  • I said at some point in my liveblog that if Larkins couldn’t score, we were going to lose. With 8 minutes left, Larkins scored UNC’s last field goal of the game. I don’t remember her taking a good shot after that, scoring only 4 points for the game. Tennessee did a very good job of keeping her in check offensively, even though she had her normal monster day rebounding.
  • Rashanda McCants played the game of her life last night. 13 points, 50% FG shooting, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, a block and an assist. She seemed fairly ineffective during the regular season, seemingly not giving complete effort. I certainly can’t say that about last night. She will be very exciting to watch next year if she can have more games like that.
  • Both teams played exceptional defense last night. McCants, Latoya Pringle, Shannon Bobbitt and Nicky Anosike in particular played some of the best individual defense I’ve seen in quite some time, in men’s or women’s basketball. The Tennessee-Rutgers game should be a defensive clinic by both teams.
  • I don’t care how good you are. If you turn the ball over 29 times in a game, you can’t win. Although, Tennessee had 21 turnovers in their own right, bringing the game total to 50. Again, phenomenal defense by both teams.
  • Next year’s lineup, as I project it (assuming no freshmen): Larkins, Pringle, Jessica Breland, McCants, and Alex Miller in the starting lineup, with Iman McFarland and Heather Claytor getting substantial minutes off the bench. UNC will continue to emphasize the paint.
  • I will sorely miss seeing Ivory Latta and Camille Little in Carolina Blue. I will be rooting for them both in the WNBA. In particular, Latta is about to take that league by storm. You go girl!

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UNC vs. Tennessee Live Blog: NCAA Women’s Final Four

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.

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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

UNC Women vs. Purdue Live Blog: NCAA Regional Final

The men may have been eliminated, but the Ladies still have championship aspirations. Tonight the Lady Tar Heels play Purdue for the right to play in the Women’s Final Four in Cleveland. UNC could use some good passing and outside shooting from Ivory Latta, but the real engine of our game is in the middle, with Erlana Larkins, Latoya Pringle, and Camille Little. Purdue is lead by Katie Gearlds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who average over 33 combined points per game. The only #2 seed to survive the first weekend (go figure), don’t underestimate the Boilermakers, who are 18-3 in 21 road and neutral games.

So, let’s get it on, ladies! No, not like that. You have a sick, sick mind!

9:07 pm: How could I forget: this is a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal, a 70-68 UNC win.

2-0, Purdue. UNC doesn’t send anyone back on defense, and the pay for it with an easy basket by Lawless. Great passing by Purdue.

9:09 pm: 2-2. Latta misses the layup, but Larkins is there for the outback.

9:10 pm: 5-2, Purdue. UNC nearly forces a steal, but the overpursuit of the ball leaves Gearlds open for three.

The game has had a sloppy start. Both teams have committed unforced errors.

9:11 pm: 7-7. The pace of the game is picking up quickly. Latta hits a three, than Purdue gets a quick basket inside, and Rashanda McCants hits a floater, all in about 30-40 seconds.

9:13 pm: 9-7, UNC. As we hit the first official timeout, Latoya Pringle hits a basket inside for the Heels’ first lead.

9:15 pm: 11-7, UNC. Larkins gets the offensive rebound, the putback and the foul. She misses the free throw, but that’s exactly what UNC needs out of Erlana: the ability to get offensive rebounds and score on putbacks.

9:18 pm: 11-11. I know coach Hatchell doesn’t care about turnovers, but I do. Seeing them turn the ball over so much is really frustrating. But who am I to complain? We’re 33-3 this year.

Jessica Breland and Alex Miller are in the game for UNC.

9:20 pm: 15-11, UNC. Larkins continues to dominate the post.

9:21 pm: 15-14, UNC. Purdue hits another three before the official timeout.

9:25 pm: The Tar Heels look completely out of sync when Miller is playing point in place of Latta. They already have 6 turnovers for the game, and nearly committed a seventh.

9:26 pm: Then again, what was Ivory doing shooting that long three? Our bread and butter is in the post! Even with Latta, she’s best when she drives inside. Maybe she hasn’t been as confident to do so since her injury last year.

9:29 pm: 18-17, Purdue. That’s what I’m talking about. Rashanda McCants drives inside for a layup, but Jody Howell hits a three to give the lead back to the Boilermakers.

9:30 pm: 20-17, Purdue. Hatchell calls a timeout to stop Purdue’s momentum. UNC has not been able to run their gameplan at all in the last 5 minutes.

9:35 pm: 22-17. Purdue. Wait…did I hear that right? Purdue’s point guard is Karl Malone? Wow, they’ve really bent the rules tonight.

The Boilermakers defense has done an excellent job of disrupting UNC’s gameplan. Still, there’s no excuse for Little not having touched the ball yet.

9:36 pm: 22-19, Purdue. Pringle scores inside again.

9:39 pm: 22-21, Purdue. UNC forces another turnover, and Latta finally gets an easy basket inside.

9:40 pm: 23-22, UNC. With 4:22 left in the first half, Camille Little gets her first touch since the opening tip, and she scores easily. Nice passing by the Tar Heels, who take back the lead.

Official timeout.

9:43 pm: CORRECTION: Purdue’s point guard is named FahKara Malone, not Karl Malone.

9:45 pm: 29-22, UNC. The Tar Heels are storming now. After scoring the last 6 points, Pringle makes her first free throw and misses the second, but Larkins gets the rebound and passes to Latta, who hits the open three. UNC forces a turnover on the next possession, and Larkins scores on a putback.

9:47 pm: 33-24, UNC. 25 of UNC’s 33 points are in the paint.

Latta get another layup, but she falls hard on her leg, the one Maryland injured last year. She hasn’t been quite 100% since. I can’t forgive the Terps for that; we would have beaten them with a healthy Latta. She has to go to the locker room.

9:50 pm: North Carolina leads, 35-28 at halftime. UNC finished the half on a 18-6 run. With the exception of that run, Purdue was playing excellent defense, forcing turnovers and taking good shots, but the Heels are dominating the paint. They must continue to attack if they want to beat the Boilermakers. Of course, having Latta back in the second half will be important.

10:07 pm: 37-30, UNC. Damn. Erlana Larkins is fast for a big girl.

10:08 pm: 39-33, UNC. Latta hits a nice midrange jumper in transition, but Purdue responds with a three.

10:09 pm: 41-33, UNC. There it is again! Larkins just blew by everybody, driving in the lane and getting the easy layup. The Purdue forwards can’t keep up with her.

10:10 pm: 41-37, UNC. Gearlds hits two free throws, cutting the lead to four.

10:11 pm: 43-40, UNC. Larkins continues to score inside, but three is greater than two, and Gearlds is stroking it from the bonusphere right now.

10:12 pm: 45-40, UNC. A basket inside by–who else?–Erlana Larkins, bringing the lead back to five.

10:14 pm: Apparently Gail Goestenkors, the Duke head coach, is being interviewed to replace the retiring 900-win coach of Texas, Jody Conradt. I hope it happens. Texas will get a great coach, and Duke will suffer. YEE-AHH!!!

10:16 pm: 47-41, UNC. You have to believe that some of the Purdue players are in foul trouble by now, right?

10:17 pm: 49-41, UNC. Wow. Rashanda McCants is actually playing well tonight. She hit a very nice midrange jumper, and she now has 11.

10:19 pm: 51-43, UNC. Larkins continues to dominate the low post, getting every shot very close to the basket.

10:20 pm: 52-45, UNC. If There’s one thing that’s going to bring Purdue back in this game, it’s going to be the turnovers they are forcing.

10:22 pm: 54-45, UNC. I knew it! Wisdom-Hylton is on the bench with four fouls.

10:23 pm: What is Larkins doing shooting a long jumper? That is not her territory!

Official timeout. 11:27 left in the game.

10:26 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!

10:27 pm: 56-48, UNC. Gearlds hits another three for Purdue, but the Boilermakers still have no answer for Larkins inside. She has 20.

10:29 pm: 56-52, UNC. Purdue has been clawing back, cutting the lead to four.

10:30 pm: 62-52, UNC. Within 45 seconds, McCants hits another jumper to bring her total to 15, Camille Little steals and gets a breakaway, and Latta gets the floater and the foul inside to bring the lead to double digits.

Timeout.

10:34 pm: 64-55, UNC. Only ESPN would cut to the studio as someone hits a shot.

10:35 pm: 64-60, UNC. Katie Gearlds is on fire, and thanks to turnovers they cut the lead back to four. She has 22, but she’s also passing the ball well.

10:37 pm: The lady Tar heels are making the same mistake as the men on Sunday against Georgetown, Their game revolves around the post, yet they’re throwing up jumpers. Even worse, Purdue is getting all of the rebounds, which allows them to control the tempo.

By the way: I’m not writing an article on what went wrong against the Hoyas in this space.

Yet.

10:40 pm: 67-60, UNC. The ESPN play-by-play announcer Mark Jones, on Erlana Larkins: “They’re gonna ride her!”

10:41 pm: 69-60, UNC. Purdue double teams Larkins, but she passes the ball to an open Latoya Pringle. A stat worth being concerned about, however: Erlana has only 1 rebound in the second half.

10:43 pm: 71-60, UNC, 4:28 left. More great passing by Larkins, this time an assist to Little. She’s one if the nation’s most complete players.

10:44 pm: 71-62, UNC, 3:39 left. Last official timeout.

10:47 pm: Purdue is running the full court press. This could go extremely well or extremely bad for the Boilermakers. Let’s hope for the latter.

10:50 pm: 72-62, UNC. 2:45 left. Latta drive inside and forces Wisdom-Hylton to foul out.

10:52 pm: 72-64, UNC, 2:31 left. Oh, man. Seeing that fat guy body painted and with the letters “TA” (I’m guessing Lat-ta) on his lovehandles was just wrong. Nyaaaaaaagh.

10:57 pm: 76-70, UNC, 1:30 left. Latta is hitting her free throws, but Purdue is till scoring on every possession late.

10:59 pm: 78-70, UNC, 1:06 left. The Heels finally get a defensive stop, Larkins gets the rebound, and this game appears sealed.

11:01 pm: 79-70, UNC, :33 left. Now THAT’S what I call a block! Latoya Pringle should be on the football team, she absolutely decleated that Purdue player! I hope Butch Davis is watching.

11:04 pm: North Carolina wins, 84-72, and the Tar Heels return to the Final Four! Considering that Duke and Maryland are already out of the way, I like our chances to win the National Championship. Tennessee, Rutgers, and LSU are certainly no pushovers, but they don’t scare me as much as our ACC foes. Once again, Mark Jones ruins the moment by making an awkward reference to Ludacris and his friendship with Latta: “and the Tar Heels are shaking their moneymaker all the way to the Final Four!” Dude, that’s just wrong.

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.

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