NCAA Women: Tar Heels win
NEW ORLEANS ó North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell couldn’t bring herself to belabor her team’s 25 turnovers, double-digit rebounding deficit or bumbling first half.
The Tar Heels had shown too much grit, too much poise in the face of adversity, to be cut down by their own coach.
LaToya Pringle had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and North Carolina climbed out of an 18-point hole in a 78-74 victory over fourth-seeded Louisville on Saturday, keeping alive the top-seeded Tar Heels’ bid for a third straight trip to the Final Four.
“When you look at those numbers and you still won, I see that as a positive, because I don’t think we’re going to play like that again,” Hatchell said. “Those kids had so much heart. It’s tough, and we had to rise to the occasion.”
The victory extended the Tar Heels’ winning streak to 16 and placed them in the regional final on Monday night, when they’ll play LSU, which beat Oklahoma State 67-52.
Louisville star Angel McCoughtry finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds, but was unable to dominate in the second half.
“We believed the entire time that we could win this game,” Louisville first-year coach Jeff Walz said. “We knew it was going to be a game of runs, so we were up 18 in the first half, but that wasn’t something I felt comfortable with.”
For good reason.
Louisville (26-10) led 48-37 after Chauntise Wright’s basket inside opened scoring in the second half. But the Tar Heels (33-2) quickly turned the tide with an 11-1 run that included Pringle’s two baskets inside and a pair of free throws after Louisville coach Walz was whistled for a technical foul as he yelled at the officials.