North Carolina promoted their game against Louisville as "Tar Wars" night at Carmichael Arena. They sold Tar Wars t-shirts and cups and even had a photo booth where fans could have their photos taken holding a light saber. However, none of these gimmicks kept the Cardinals from making Bantha fodder of the Tarheels on the court.
The game began with a strange disturbance in the Force: the clocks on the backboard weren’t working which led to the officials calling an administrative technical foul. Mariyah Moore put Louisville ahead 2-0 before the ball was even tipped. Then instead of jumping when the ball was thrown up Myisha Hines-Allen backed off and UNC forward Erika Johnson tipped the ball right to her. The possibility of a game starting that way are approximately 3,720 to 1.
Much like in their last game against Wake Forest the first half shooting was colder than the planet Hoth. The UNC defense was forcing missed layups and turnovers. The Tarheels came out with much more energy and focus and made the Cardinals look like their overconfidence was their weakness. Moore had 8 points and Asia Durr came in off the bench for a struggling Briahanna Jones and added 9, but Carolina took a 32-28 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter UNC stretched to its largest lead of the game at 37-28. It was a rough start and based on the online chatter it seemed a lot of Louisville fans had a bad feeling about this and the lack of faith was disturbing. The Cards needed to do something defensively to turn the tide so what would Coach Walz draw up? It's a trap! Mariyah and Myisha pinned Hillary Summers in the corner and forced a steal with 5:05 to go that led to a layup. About 10 seconds later Courtnee Walton forced another steal which led to Louisville finally regaining the lead at 48-46. North Carolina was unwise to lower their defenses and allowed 35 points in the third quarter—the most points they’d allowed against any team in a quarter all year.
It seems to be North Carolina’s lot in life to suffer this season. Coach Sylvia Hatchell was suspended two games, one for bumping an official during the Duke game and the other for a recruiting violation. Additionally, they only have 6 scholarship players after losing several of their best recruits from the top ranked class of 2013 to transfer in the off-season. This lack of depth really took its toll on the Tarheels in the 4th quarter and the Cardinals seemed to make the jump to light speed against UNC’s tired defenders. The final score was 78-60.
Louisville has a chance to tie their longest winning streak of 16 in a row this Sunday against #3 ranked Notre Dame for the battle of ACC supremacy at the KFC Yum! Center at 2pm. Show your Kroger Plus card or the ticket stub from the men’s game against Boston College to purchase $3 tickets at any Cardinal Ticket Office. The game will also be shown on ESPN 2. May the Force be with them.