March 3, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C.- - The No. 9 seed Virginia Cavaliers fell to No. 1 seed and No. 1 nationally ranked North Carolina, 82-56, on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Virginia stands 18-11 overall, while the Tar Heels improved to 27-1 overall. UNC now advances to semifinal action on Saturday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m.
In the first half, UNC jumped ahead by eight, 12-4, but the Cavaliers battled back. The Tar Heels re-built their lead to eight twice more, but UVa pulled within two, 31-29 prior to intermission. Top-ranked Carolina held just a four-point edge at halftime, 33-29.
"I thought that we had a pretty good start today," head coach Debbie Ryan said. "Even though we got down a little bit, we still made a little run to come back. I thought we played a pretty good first half."
In the second half, sophomore point guard Sharnee Zoll (Marlboro, N.J.) opened with a three-point bucket to help UVa come within one, 33-32. The teams battled and the `Hoos came with one again, 41-40, but never took over the lead. UNC then went on a 21-3 run to take a double-digit lead, which the Tar Heels maintained for the duration of the game.
"About the 11-minute mark is when I think we just seemed to either get tired, or I don't know really what happened to us, but the doors blew off, and Carolina exposed about everything that was wrong about our team in that one stretch," Ryan added.
Zoll paced three Cavaliers in double figures with 13 points. Sophomore Takisha Granberry (Charlotte, N.C.) added 12 points, while sophomore Denesha Kenion (Oxon, Md.) came off the bench for 11 first-half points.
"Denesha and Lyndra (Littles) both stepped up and played very strong. We showed a lost of character and courage in the first half, being able to match (UNC) point-for-point. We started off very out-matched on the boards and then we tied it up," Ryan said.
Ivory Latta, who scored just one bucket in the first half, and Camille Little led the Tar Heels with 17 points each. La'Tangela Atkinson added 15 points, while LaToya Pringle came off the bench for 14 points. Little and Erlana Larkins each grabbed 10 rebounds.
"Well, we knew it was going to be a tough game," said UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell. "(Virginia) had not lost since we played them in Charlottesville a few weeks ago. So I knew they were a hot team; they were on a roll."
Overall, North Carolina out-rebounded Virginia, 53-40.
Virginia now awaits an at-large bid to the 2006 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The 64-team bracket will be announced live on ESPN on Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m.
"I really don't know," Ryan said of her team's chances of an NCAA berth. "I hope that we're in. I would think that last night's win helped us dramatically in the RPI. And today, even losing to North Carolina is going to help us. It's going to give us extra points. And we have a good record. We've beaten some people now, and I think we probably have made a pretty big case. We just have to pray that there aren't a lot of upsets in the next couple of days in tournaments."
"Like Coach said, I just hope and pray that my season doesn't end here," said lone senior Tiffany Sardin (Chicago, Ill.), "and for it to continue where ever we're picked to go."
"I do think that (Virginia's) in the NCAA," Hatchell added. "I would be shocked if they are not, especially the way they are playing here at the end of the season. I do hope that they will be in, because I do think they deserve it."
1 2 - Final #9 seed Virginia (18-11) 29 27 - 56 #1 seed/#1 North Carolina (27-1) 33 49 - 82
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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