College Hoops

UNC Women’s Basketball survives in NCAA Tournament opener

UNC Women’s Basketball survives in NCAA Tournament opener

The UNC women’s basketball program survived and advanced, as they defeated No. 11-seed St. John’s in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

After a two-week hiatus, the UNC women’s basketball program began NCAA Tournament play on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio vs 11-seed St. John’s.

The Tar Heels opened the game on a 12-3 run in the first 5 minutes of the game. The Red Storm used a 7-0 run of their own to close the gap. Deja Kelly led all Tar Heels with 8 points in the first quarter as the Heels led 19-15 after one.

The second quarter got off to a slow start for both teams as the Tar Heels only made one field goal in the first six minutes, but the Red Storm were held without a field goal themselves. The Tar Heels ended the half on an 8-1 run to take a 29-20 lead into the locker room. Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby lead the UNC scoring in the first half with 10 and 9 points respectively.

Courtney Banghart’s squad got their largest lead on a three-pointer from Eva Hodgson to start the 3rd quarter at 32-20. St. John’s proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to cut the lead back down to 5 with 6:50 remaining in the quarter. The teams went back and forth the rest of the quarter and UNC was able to keep the Red Storm from getting any closer. The Tar Heels would take a 5-point lead to the 4th quarter at 46-41.

St. John’s opened the 4th quarter on a 10-2 run to give the Red Storm their first lead of the game at 51-48. UNC struggled when Ustby fouled out with 6:15 remaining.

With 2 minutes to go, the teams picked the scoring up and went back and forth. Paulina Paris tied the game at 54 on a three-point play, then Teonni Key gave the Heels the lead at 56-54 on two free throws with 1:19 left. The Red Storm tied it at 56 before, Kennedy Todd-Williams gave UNC the lead at 58-56 on a putback after a missed Kelly layup with 29.1 seconds left. Mimi Reid for St. John’s made an acrobatic layup to tie the game with 6.5 seconds remaining.

Kelly, just as she has all season, stepped up and converted a layup, and one, with 2.3 seconds left to give UNC the lead at 61-58. Despite a controversial foul on Kelly with 1.5 seconds left that allowed the Red Storm three free throws and a chance to tie, the Red Storm missed 2 of 3. The Tar Heels survived and advanced with a 61-59 win.

The Red Storm outshot the Tar Heels 22-8 at the free-throw line which certainly helped…

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