The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season ends with Duke vs UNC - in both the men and women. It is senior night for one team or the other (alternating) each year. It is always a big game known nationally as the battle of tobacco road and compared to Yankees vs Red Sox rivalries. It is often a battle of top teams.
The women played today at Duke and once again senior night was special even though it didn't turn out exactly as I hoped. The rankings nationally had UNC at 9 and Duke at 10. They were tied for third in the ACC. UNC won the match up earlier this season in Chapel Hill. UNC played better overall this time around. Duke played incredibly well. The end result was Duke winning 81-79 in overtime.
During the post game press conference:
"We will use this game as motivation," Hatchell said. "Everything happens for a reason, and this may be a blessing in disguise. I hope so."
Maybe she said or intended to say "had better" instead of "will"? I predict some rebounding practice between now and Friday.
Besides motivation, there are a few other positives out of tonight's game:
1. A point from Coach that this was a televised game and probably the best one all season. It was a great game for women's basketball. The radio commentator for the Tar Heel Sports Network reiterated that point as well but her take was that "If you didn't care so much about the outcome" it was a great game.
2. Playing at 11am on Friday means a few hours more rest before Saturdays game (assuming we can win). They might even get to stay and watch the next game for a bit. The coaches will definitely get to scout the next opponent after a win instead of with their minds on an upcoming game.
3. The end goal is a NCAA Championship. A good seeding for the tourney can help. UNC has lost 5 games this year. All 4 conference losses were on the road. They have a chance to fix those mistakes and show that they are better now as they go through the conference tournament. Some say that a win over MD would help our standings considerably. Well, we are now in that side of the bracket.
Rebound ladies. From here on out is one and done.