UNC Women’s Basketball Uses Balanced Offense To Beat Hurricanes

The UNC Women's Basketball program got offensive production from all five starters and used it to propel them to a 66-61 victory over the Miami Hurricanes.

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It wasn't exactly pretty for the UNC Women's Basketball program on Thursday night as the Miami Hurricanes put up a pretty good fight in Carmichael Arena. Courtney Banghart's squad was still able to find a way to pull out another victory and move to 7-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tied with Syracuse for first place.

The Tar Heels had an impressive first quarter building a 14-point lead by holding the Hurricanes to just 8 points in the first quarter and scoreless over the final 6:19 of the period to lead 22-8. Reniya Kelly, who provided a huge spark in the first quarter for North Carolina, scored an efficient 6 points on 2-2 from beyond the arc.

The Tar Heels would grow the lead to as many as 19 during the second quarter at two different points, most recently 35-16 with 3:48 remaining in the first half. However, Miami is a competitive team and they were not willing to just lay down and go away lightly. The Hurricanes ended the half on a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to 10 at 38-28.

The second half began with Miami on a 4-0 run to get the deficit into single digits for the first time since the beginning of the game at 38-32. However, North Carolina pushed back, stretching the lead back out to as many as 17 at 51-34 with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter. At that point, it appeared that the Tar Heels may just run away with this one, despite the efforts from Miami.

Unfortunately, for the UNC Women's Basketball team, that was not the case. The Hurricanes all of a sudden began making threes at an alarmingly high rate, allowing them to claw their way back into the game as they cut the deficit to seven with 5:34 remaining at 57-50. The threes continued, and Miami got as close as 62-61 with 15 seconds remaining in the game.

Luckily for the Tar Heels, the defense made some stops in the final seconds and was able to pull out the 66-61 victory despite the hot shooting night from beyond the arc for Miami. The Hurricanes ultimately shot 40% from three-point range, making 12 of their 30 attempts. More than half of their 21 made field goals were three-pointers, keeping the game closer than it otherwise might have been.

Holding Miami scoreless for the final 6:19 of the first quarter and getting balanced scoring on the offensive end of the floor were two huge bonuses for the UNC Women's Basketball team on Thursday night. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Deja Kelly with 18 points. Alyssa Ustby, once again, finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Maria Gakdeng had 13 points, and Lexi Donarski added 10, including two three-pointers.

North Carolina survived the Hurricanes to move to 15-5 overall, 7-1 in the conference and now will get ready to travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to face the Cavaliers in a rematch from just 14 days ago in a game the Tar Heels won 81-68.

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