The UNC Lady Tarheels overcame a late 18-4 run by the UCONN Huskies to win by the final score 82-76. Leading the way for the Lady Heels was LaToya Pringle with 18 points and 6 rebounds. Erlana Harkins had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds. UNC’s star point guard, Ivory Latta, overcame a rough first half to score 12 second half points for a total of 14 in the game. Kalana Greene once again led the Huskies in scoring with 23 points and team high 5 steals. Three other Huskies were in double figures as Brittany Hunter, Charde Houston and Ketia Swanier all added 10 points.

North Carolina got out to a lead early but 20 first half turnovers by the Lady Heels allowed UCONN to keep the game close and only trail by 5, 41-36 at the half. UNC got out to a double digit lead in the second half but when Erlana Larkins picked up her fourth foul, UCONN went on an 18-4 run to take a two point lead. Ivory Latta hit a big three point shot with the game tied at 76 and the Lady Heels added 3 free throws down the stretch for the final margin.

Notes and Observations:

  • The starters were Montgomery, Thomas, Greene, Charles, and Houston.
  • Mel Thomas and Charde Houston got into foul trouble in the first half. Each picked up 3 fouls and Mel sat out the last 6 or so minutes.
  • Renee Montgomery and Mel Thomas struggled from the floor in the first half. They were a combined 2 for 14 for 4 points. They finished the game shooting 5 for 24. They each ended up scoring 6 points.
  • UNC had a 28-14 rebounding edge in the first half and 46-32 edge overall.
  • Coach Geno Auriemma killed Mel Thomas in his comments to Rebecca Lobo on espn2 at the half:

“we got mel wide open shots, we gotta see what we can open up thats more open than wide open”

  • Tina Charles struggled again in a big game showing her inexperience. However she was a key part of the 18-4 run scoring 9 points before fouling out with 2 minutes left.
  • Brittany Hunter was impressive again tonight. She still is battling the knee injury which she tweaked in the first half. Along with her 10 points, she added a team high 9 rebounds.
  • Charde Houston had 7 of UCONN’s 18 turnovers. UCONN did force 26 turnovers by UNC but yet was unable to put them away.
  • Mel Thomas fouled out of the game with 7 seconds left. This was her first time ever fouling out of a game in her 2 plus seasons at UCONN.
  • UCONN’s free throwing shooting killed them in the first half. They were 4 for 9. Overall in the game, they were 11 for 18 (61%).
  • UCONN shot 1 for 12 from 3 point land during the game. Mel Thomas had the only one.

For UCONN to win the big games, they need to show the heart they have when they have trailed big against Tennessee and now UNC. A complete performance will help them win these type of games. I am not saying that they played bad but they just didn’t execute when needed. I was having a conversation with a friend during the game and he brought up an excellent point. UCONN doesn’t get the ball to Mel Thomas or any of the shooting guards in transition like the men used to. The men last year would always find a way to get Rashad Anderson or Denham Brown the ball for a 3 point shot. Many times, those 3 pt shots were daggers. If the women can find a way to do this, the outcome in these big games might be different.

Free throw shooting is another area I’d like to address. Geno even said this at half time, they need to find a way to make free throws. The missed opportunities at the line are killing them. UCONN could have been closer than 5 at the half and even down the stretch of the game if they had make their free throws. In watching different pieces on television about the UCONN women, Coach Auriemma says that they work on them a lot. Other than Mel Thomas, everyone on the Huskies needs to work on their free throws.

With the loss, the Huskies drop to 14-2 on the season. UCONN will have two days to recover from the loss as they have a date at Providence on Wednesday night. The game is at 7:00 PM and will be broadcast locally in CT on CPTV.

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