Observations from the Smith Center

Staff writerMarch 5, 2011 

— North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell rushed back from Greensboro to be at the Smith Center for son Van Hatchell’s senior day game.

Coach Roy Williams didn’t break with tradition as he put seniors Hatchell, Justin Knox, D.J. Johnston and Daniel Bolick in the starting lineup with Kendall Marshall.

The senior walk-ons – Hatchell, Johnston and Bolick – played 95 seconds before they were replaced with North Carolina leading 3-0. Duke’s starters didn’t take advantage of a chance to grab a quick lead with three walk-ons on the floor. The Tar Heel walk-ons left Ryan Kelly open in the corner, and Kelly missed two 3-point attempts.

Earlier in the day, Sylvia Hatchell coached the Tar Heel women to an 83-57 win over Miami in the ACC tournament semifinals. North Carolina meets Duke at 1 p.m. today in the women’s final.

• North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes showed early in the game why he was the highest-rated recruit in the 2011 recruiting class. In the short corner opposite Duke’s bench, Barnes found himself guarded well by Duke’s Kelly. Barnes stepped back for a fall-away 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Kelly (who’s 6-foot-11) that hit nothing but net.

• It’s often said that the Duke-North Carolina game in Durham is more intense because of the heated atmosphere and the noise at cozy Cameron Indoor Stadium. The crowd at the Smith Center was deafening from the start of the senior day celebration.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942, or @kentysiac on Twitter

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