The North Carolina Tar Heels Women’s Basketball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the NCAA Tournament regional final at the hands of second seeded Stanford, and the 2013-2014 campaign is officially and unfortunately over. Both teams battled hard until the end, but some missed free throws and opportunities late for the Tar Heels sealed their fate. UNC finished the season with 27 wins and a lot to build on with a young team for next season.
The fourth seeded Lady Tar Heels had an uphill battle to fight when they arrived for the regional in Stanford. The Cardinal, the likely opponent in the regional finals, would be playing with the help of a home court and one of the best players in the country in Chiney Ogwumike. After a victory over South Carolina in the Sweet 16, the game tonight against Stanford in the regional final was a battle. But the Tar Heels came up one blow short at the end, and lost 74-65 to the higher seeded Cardinal.
Guard Alisha Gray led the Tar Heels in scoring with 19 points on 8-13 shooting. Freshman sensation Diamond DeShields had a great night by anyone else’s standards, but a poor night by her own high standards, scoring 13 points on 33% shooting. Latifah Coleman dished out six assists as well.
For the Cardinal, it was the unstoppable duo of Ogwumike and Mikaela Ruef that led the team in scoring with a combined 37 points. The two star forwards also pulled in 19 combined rebounds in a dominant performance on the night. Forward Bonnie Samuelson chipped in 13 points off the bench.
UNC has a lot to be proud of from this season, especially considering the youthful roster and adversity the team faced with coach Sylvia Hatchell’s leukemia. First and foremost, the Carolina family hopes for a healthy and leukemia-free Hatchell for next season. She will have the opportunity to hopefully lead a roster a year more experienced back to the Elite 8 and maybe even a Final Four to avenge this year’s heartbreaking loss.