Photo by John Nakano

The women’s basketball team was in action Sunday when they traveled up to Chapel Hill to take on the 8th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Jackets came up short, falling to the Tar Heels 96-81.

Tech entered the game playing solid basketball, coming off of conference wins against Boston College and Clemson.

The young starting five for the Jackets consisted of junior Roddreka Rogers, freshman Zaire O’Neil, freshman Antonia Peresson, sophomore Kaela Davis and junior Aaliyah Whiteside.

The Jackets found themselves behind early in the game with UNC jumping out to a quick 12-4 lead. Tech kept the game fairly close for most of the first half. However, as the half winded down, UNC led by as many as 18 points. Going into halftime, the Tar Heels led, 50-35.

The Jackets were able to cut into the lead early in the second half but could not bring the score difference any lower than 12 points. The two teams came out of the halftime locker rooms trading baskets, and the Tar Heels would not give Tech any room to make a comeback, keeping about a 15 point lead throughout the second half.

Tech’s defense struggled in the game, surrendering the most points in a game all season.

The Tar Heels’ bench may have been the difference in this game, as they outscored Tech’s bench, 38-24.

Overall, coach MaChelle Joseph was not happy with the Jackets’ effort in the game.

‘’It just seemed like we were out of it,’’ Joseph said, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “This is probably the least competitive we’ve been all season. I just didn’t feel like we had the fight in us for 40 minutes the way we normally do.”

The Jackets shot the ball fairly well, shooting better than their season average from all over the floor.

Tech’s guard Aaliyah Whiteside led all scorers with 22 points. Not to be outdone, forward Roddreka Rogers recorded a double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Center Nariah Taylor came off the bench for the Jackets and had 10 points as well as five blocks.

The Tar Heels were led by forward Stephanie Mavunga, recording 20 points and 13 rebounds of her own.

Three other Tar Heels scored double figures including Jessica Washington (16 points), Allisha Gray (15 points) and Brittany Rountree (11 points).

Tech has been struggling recently against top-level ACC teams, and Davis is trying to adjust to being the team’s go-to player.

This season has been tough on the team compared to years past, as this is the first season in four years without All-American Ty Marshall.

With an overall record of 12-6, the Jackets have placed themselves in a favorable position to make the NCAA tournament once again this year, but it won’t be easy. Four of the Jackets’ final 12 games are against teams currently ranked in the top 25.

Winning some of those games is going to be important when the time comes for the decision committee to make the brackets.

The Jackets look to get back in the win column on Sunday when they host ACC rival Pittsburgh at McCamish Pavilion.