North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell looked at the box score, saw that Boston College made 15 3-point shots and assumed that was a school record. She was 100 percent correct.
The Eagles came to Chapel Hill riding a 10-game losing streak. What they found at Carmichael Arena was their shooting touch. Boston College shot the lights out from beyond the 3-point line, ending its losing streak in the process with a 88-77 win over the Tar Heels, who have now dropped their second in a row and ninth ACC game.
Boston College, two spots below UNC in the ACC standings, didn’t play like a team that had won just one league game before Thursday. They definitely didn’t shoot like it. The Eagles (9-17, 2-10 ACC) connected on 15 3-pointers, proving Hatchell right that this game would go in the Boston College record books.
“In 43 years I’ve never had a team make nine 3s on me in a 10-minute period,” Hatchell said. “Good shooting cures a multitude of sins. They were just busting 3s from all over the place.”
Their previous high was eight made 3s versus St. Francis (Brooklyn) on Nov. 26. Boston College went a perfect 9-for-9 from behind the arc in the third quarter, taking a 71-52 lead into the final frame. Four different Eagles connected on 3s in the third. Taylor Ortlepp made back-to-back 3s to start the second half, and finished with four in the quarter. Kelly Hughes, who got things started in the first half from deep, made two treys in the third, and Emilee Daley also connected on two. Hughes, fourth in the ACC in made 3s, hit seven for the game, finishing with 24 points. Ortlepp hit 5-of-8 from long range and had 19. The freshman guard, making just her seventh start, came into the game shooting 18 percent from behind the arc.
“It was her night,” Hatchell quipped.
For the game Boston College shot 62.5 percent from deep. The long-range shooting from the Eagles definitely wasn’t in the scouting report coming into the game. Boston College came into the contest 13th out of 15 teams in made 3s, and 12th in 3-point percentage (30 percent). Hatchell said, based off scouting and playing the Eagles before, she thought they would try to defeat the Heels in the halfcourt. She expected Hughes to fire away after taking 14 3s against UNC last season. The rest of the players, Hatchell explained, kind of snuck up on them.
“She (Ortlepp) was lighting it up, then (Daley) had three of them,” Hatchell said. “They couldn’t hardly miss.”
North Carolina, statistically the better 3-point shooting team, went cold, shooting 9-for-30 behind the arc. The Tar Heels struggled from the field most of the night, going on a four-minute scoring drought that bridged the first and second quarter. Hatchell didn’t want to take anything away from Boston College, but admitted it was just an off night for her team, who shot 37 percent from the field.
After tying the score at 11 on a Paris Kea jumper, the Heels (13-11, 2-9) went 0-for-7 from the field until Stephanie Watts nailed a triple early in the second quarter. By that time the Eagles’ lead had ballooned to 19. Hughes had a lot to do with that, knocking down consecutive triples during the run and a short jumper, her own personal 8-0 run.
The loss took away from a career-night from UNC junior Jamie Cherry, who scored 31 points. Paris Key (22 points) and Watts (12) contributed to the Heels cutting the deficit to nine late in the game. UNC was without sophomore guard Destinee Walker, missing not only her 12.4 ppg, but her defense on the perimeter as well, which would have helped against the Eagles.
“It hurts with her not being out there,” Hatchell said. “She’s a good defender, but she’s a really great shooter, too.”
Without Walker, Hatchell started freshman Naomi Van Ness in her place, the first career-start for the true freshman. In fact, all of Hatchell’s post players who saw action versus Boston College were freshmen, scoring a combined seven points, forcing UNC to rely on a big night from Cherry, Kea and Watts to carry the load.
“I feel like we have to make up for when Destinee is not out there,” Cherry said. “It’s pretty tough, but at the same time we have to get the job done.”