WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Tar Heel Coach Earns Historic Win
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 01:02
“I’m not a good loser, I am just telling you,” said North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell. “I’m not a good loser, and I hope I never become one.”
Hatchell became the third women’s coach to record 900 wins in the Boston College 80-52 loss Thursday night to the Tar Heels.
“She’s a role model for all of us. There’s a lot of women in our game that started in women’s basketball before anyone really knew anything about women’s basketball,” said BC head coach Erik Johnson.
Hatchell began her career in college basketball at Francis Marion, before starting at UNC in 1986. She had a chance for 900 wins last Sunday at Duke, but lost to the Blue Devils. The loss, however, was just one game that stood between Hatchell and the inevitable.
“We wanted everything as a basketball team to push that off one more game. There’s a reason they’ve won 900 games,” Johnson said.
Being on the losing end of a record set is never easy, especially in a blowout. The Eagles experienced that as the Tar Heels kept them from executing their drive-and-kick offense.
“When we’re at our best, we’re able to go play off each other. Drive, kick, and drive again … They were able to stop us … They forced us into playing their game,” Johnson said.
For BC, guards can make or break a night. On Thursday, they fumbled the ball around the perimeter, working deep into the shot clock. With the buzzer’s eruption at the end of these shot clock violations, turnovers or forced shots defined the night.
“Our issue was really in the half court. They switched and they switched aggressively. We got back on our heels,” Johnson said. “When you got a big, athletic defender who’s in your shorts, you got a hard time getting by her. She’s got quick hands. Think about how many times we fumbled the basketball on an exchange or just dribbling it ourselves and then had to go recover and have to start over.”
The inability of BC to find a rhythm on offense due to the Tar Heels’ prowess on defense, allowed the game to escape its grasp. After a 15-2 UNC run that led into halftime, BC couldn’t keep up. The Tar Heels had everything going for them.
“They hit shots over us. They were able to go finish inside. They made foul shots. They hit their three’s well … We’re not there yet,” said Johnson.
Early in the tilt, UNC relied on 6 foot 2 freshman Xylina McDaniel inside. She shot 70 percent and had 15 points and seven rebounds.
When the Eagles made an effort to stop easy scoring in the post, North Carolina simply turned to its leading scorer on the season, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. She hit shots from the top of the key with ease and also played well defensively.
“Their switches were disciplined. They were able to take away our back cuts,” Johnson said. “I thought that we learned some lessons, as we started really driving at them and cutting harder. We started opening them up.”
The Eagles will need to open up defenses more, Johnson said. There are seven remaining ACC games. Bigger games from center Katie Zenevitch and Kerri Shields, who were held below their averages, will be instrumental to success.
“Where we are in our program we have to take lessons from this,” Johnson said.