No. 25 North Carolina 65, No. 12 Miami 63

Sylvia Hatchell spent all Monday night telling her North

Carolina players to keep believing they could win despite yet

another key injury, a bevy of turnovers and the struggle to find

any rhythm offensively.

At least her Tar Heels proved they’ll still listen to their

coach on a rough night.

Chay Shegog hit the go-ahead free throws with 1:11 left, helping

No. 25 North Carolina rally past No. 12 Miami 65-63 in the Atlantic

Coast Conference opener for both teams.

Shegog finished with 20 points to lead the Tar Heels (11-2, 1-0

ACC), who won despite finishing with a season-high 31 turnovers.

North Carolina trailed by eight with about 5 1/2 minutes left

before fighting back to take its first lead on Shegog’s free

throws. Freshman Brittany Rountree added 14 points for the Tar

Heels, including two free throws with 16.7 seconds left to push

UNC’s lead to four.

The Tar Heels held on from there, surviving a missed layup by

Miami’s Riquna Williams that would’ve tied it with 2 seconds left

as well as Morgan Stroman’s hurried heave that fell way short as

the horn sounded.

”About the only thing I can say is they never gave up and they

played with a lot of heart,” Hatchell said. ”It wasn’t pretty and

we had a lot of turnovers, but they kept fighting and playing

hard.”

It was a victory that’s sure to give the Tar Heels some

confidence, not to mention show Hatchell that she’s got a bunch of

fighters despite a rough start.

Williams knocked down 3-pointers on the first two possessions

for the Hurricanes (11-3, 0-1) while the Tar Heels missed a pair of

layups on their first two trips down the floor. An irate Hatchell

had seen enough by that point, calling a timeout 68 seconds in to

have an animated discussion with her players in the huddle.

”I said, `Look, y’all are playing like you’re afraid of

them,”’ Hatchell said. ”’We’re in a battle out here, you know?

You’ve got to be aggressive.”’

But things got worse. First North Carolina fell behind by 11

points. Then senior guard She’la White rolled her left ankle while

driving to the basket in the latest blow to a roster already

depleted by injuries. White tried to return later in the half, but

her departure looked crippling when freshmen Rountree and Shannon

Smith were left as the only true ballhandlers against Miami’s

pressure – not to mention when Rountree picked up her fourth foul

less than a minute into the second half.

At times, the Tar Heels were struggling to get the ball across

midcourt against Miami’s fullcourt trap. Smith had nine turnovers

and repeatedly heard frustrated streams both from the UNC sideline

or her own teammates.

Yet the Tar Heels played enough defense to hold Miami to

35-percent shooting, including 6-for-26 from 3-point range. They

also took a 41-34 rebounding advantage and finished with a 16-7

edge in second-chance points, including when the 5-foot-7 Smith

somehow managed to grab her own miss and score to tie the game at

60 with 1:53 left.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were going in the wrong direction.

”We just didn’t have that fight that we normally have,” said

Stroman, who had 13 points. ”It’s like, I guess, we’re depending

on everyone to make the big shots at the end of the game and at

that time, we just need to step up and … play with our chest out

and play with confidence. And we weren’t playing like that.”

Miami led 58-50 on Stefanie Yderstrom’s third 3-pointer with

5:19 left, but the Hurricanes missed eight of their last 10 shots.

The teams were tied on the boards with about 7 1/2 minutes left

before the Tar Heels pushed ahead there late.

Williams finished with 16 points, including a driving layup

while drawing a blocking foul from Smith for a three-point play

that brought Miami to within 64-63 with 11.1 seconds left.

Yderstrom added 15 points, though preseason ACC player of the year

Shenise Johnson had 11 on 4-for-13 shooting.

That defense helped negate all the turnovers that led to 25

points for Miami – though the Tar Heels didn’t have a turnover in

the final 4 1/2 minutes.

”You’ve got to finish games on the road in the ACC,” Miami

coach Katie Meier said, ”and we didn’t.”