Jackets drop No. 22 Tar Heels

On Sunday, Feb. 12, the Jackets were able to break their tie with the North Carolina Tar Heels for fourth place in the ACC in a back-and-forth 56-54 victory.  Both teams came into the game also tied at No. 22 in the national rankings. Tech’s win over the Tar Heels was the team’s first win over a ranked opponent this season after dropping their first six tries.

The matchup was the first between same-ranked teams since the Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game in 2003 for women’s basketball, and the lead changed eight times throughout the game.

The Jackets started off quick with three jumpers and led 11-5 through the first five minutes of the game.  However, North Carolina was able to take advantage of missed shots and turnovers, and replied to retake the lead on a jumper by Laura Bloomfield with 14:06 left in the half.

The Tar Heels led for the next eight minutes of the game, but two quick three-pointers by freshman guard Sydney Wallace gave the Jackets a 25-19 lead with 5:49 left to play. Three jumpers to close out the half by senior forward Chelsea Regins gave the Jackets a 34-29 lead going into halftime.

The Jackets’ bench had an impressive first half performance, with three players scoring 15 of the Jackets’ points. Tech also shot the ball efficiently, hitting 50 percent of their shots from the field, including hitting half of their three-point shot attempts.

The score remained close for the first eight minutes of the second half, with the Tar Heels keeping within striking distance of the Jackets. North Carolina tied the game with 12:05 left in the half and took the lead after a jumper by Waltiea Rolle to go up 43-41. The Tar Heels then began breaking away, a six-point lead after three straight jumpers.

Tech began making a comeback with a free throw and a three-pointer by senior guard Metra Walthour, who had 11 points for the game. With 6:27 remaining in the game, both teams began a four-minute stretch in which neither team would score.

With 2:44 remaining, sophomore guard Tyaunna Marshall had two defensive rebounds and successfully hit three jumpers to give Tech a two-point lead in the final 30 seconds of the match-up.  Sophomore guard Dawnn Maye then sealed the game, hitting three free throw attempts to set the score at 56-51 with 16 seconds remaining. North Carolina was able to sink a three-pointer with two seconds left, ending the game with a final score of 56-54.

The Jackets played a game on Thursday, Feb. 16, on the road against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, prior to the time of press. They will then return to action when they return home on Sunday, Feb. 19, when they face the  Boston College Eagles at Philips Arena.