CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC plays its first game in a week and gets a challenge from a nationally ranked ACC opponent.
The Tar Heels, who used a big second half to win at N.C. State seven days ago, come in ranked No. 9 nationally. And they’ll face their highest-ranked opponent at home so far this season in No. 15 Florida State.
The Seminoles will try to recover from a 30-point loss at Duke three days earlier.
FSU won the teams’ only meeting last season, 77-70 in Tallahassee.
TV cameras are in the house for regional cable, as the Seminoles break UNC’s 19-game ACC win streak at Carmichael and win 83-73.
And the first half is a nightmare for the Tar Heels, as FSU leads 36-24 at the break. The Seminoles outshoot them 44.1 percent to 25.8 over the period and lead the rebounds 27-16. FSU’s Jacinta Monroe has 11 rebounds at halftime.
The Seminoles lead by as many as 19 points, 47-28 on a Monroe layup with 17:10 left, before the Tar Heels make a long noisy run.
They cut the lead to 56-54 on a pair of Chay Shegog free throws with 8:41 to go, then to one on three more occasions – the last on an Italee Lucas layup at 3:25 to make it 66-65.
But the Seminoles score the next four before Monroe swats down Lucas’ 3-point attempt from the left corner and assists on Ward’s layup at the other end. UNC is unable to pull within six thereafter.
Monroe leads the Seminoles with 16 points – all in the second half – and 17 rebounds, while Courtney Ward adds 13 points. Angel Gray and Cierra Bravard chip in 11 apiece and Christian Hunnicutt 10.
Lucas leads UNC with 20, followed by Shegog with a strong 16 points and Cetera DeGraffenreid with 13.
FSU shoots 46.4 percent from the floor to UNC’s 40.6 and wins the rebound battle by a whopping 47-32. The Tar Heels commit 17 turnovers to 21 for FSU.
It’s not a happy overnight for the Tar Heels, as Coach Sylvia Hatchell pulls no punches at the post-game press conference. The team will have a special and dreaded “rebounding practice” at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, the earliest time that NCAA rules allow.
They said it …
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “Give Florida State a lot of credit after losing Friday night like that. Usually after you lose like that you refocus and work harder, and I warned our team that that’s probably how they would be. After we lost at Virginia Tech we wanted to get out there and win a game and play hard and prove that we were better than that. We weren’t ready when we started. I don’t know what it was. … If we had played the whole game like we did the last 15 minutes, we’d be sitting here with a win. The biggest thing was the rebounding. That was just absolutely awful. That’s just not acceptable and they know it. If we’d have rebounded we would have won this game. … We’re going to see how much this means to (our team.)”
FSU coach Sue Semrau: “Whoever saw the game on Friday night, you understand why this is such a big bounce-back win for us. I’m proud of our players for being able to get through that one and put that one behind us. I thought there could be some cabin-fever issues, but they worked through it and rebounded the ball extremely well tonight. Obviously doing what (Monroe) did, being very unselfish scoring-wise in the first half and then taking over in the second was huge for us. … One thing I’ve learned over the years is that women need to be heard. And they communicated (over the weekend) and are a much more unified front now.”
Monroe: “(On the block) I just saw the shot going up and I was scared if it would have went in, so I kept my hands up.”
Lucas: “I can’t pinpoint the reason for the slow start. We just can’t tip-toe around teams. We have to come out hard like we did the last 15 minutes. We have to play the entire 40 minutes. … There were a lot of plays that could have changed the game.”
What does it all mean?
That the Seminoles are alone in second place in the ACC, and both teams now have two more conference losses than first-place Duke.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Monroe’s block of Lucas’ shot, followed by her assist on the Ward layup.
UNC leads 27-9.
UNC: Lost 1.
FSU: Won 1.
UNC at Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m.
FSU vs. Wake Forest, Sunday, 2 p.m.