Written by Louis Fernandez, a sports reporter for WRAL.
Duke women’s basketball overcame a 14-point deficit in the third quarter and completed a double-digit comeback in overtime to defeat rival North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday. Delaney Thomas, a freshman, stood out with a personal best of 19 points and seven rebounds against the Tar Heels.
After the game, Duke head coach Kara Lawson stated that despite being behind in previous games, we were able to demonstrate our resilience and make a comeback.
“It’s meant to be difficult,” Lawson chuckled. “It’s the Duke-Carolina rivalry, it’s supposed to be demanding.”
At halftime, UNC was ahead by one point. However, they dominated in the third quarter, scoring 20 points while the Blue Devils only scored 9. Senior guard Deja Kelly played the entire quarter and contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and one assist.
Afterward, the Duke team scored 34 points compared to the Tar Heels’ 14 in the fourth quarter and subsequent overtime period.
Duke has experience with overcoming large deficits, as they have successfully erased double-digit leads in games against Stanford, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
Thomas expressed the importance of supporting and encouraging each other during difficult times, and how it helped them stay strong and overcome challenges together.
Thomas achieved his top two scoring records during away games against Stanford (14 points) and at a home game against South Carolina (13 points).
Lawson expressed confidence in her ability to perform strongly against the nation’s top teams and make a positive impact on our team.
The Tar Heels have suffered a losing streak of four games, two of which were in overtime. Head coach Courtney Banghart emphasizes the need for improvement from her guards.
According to Banghart, these individuals were the initial ones to look at themselves, but they were not successful in their efforts. As a result, we ended up taking difficult shots instead of creating open opportunities for one another.
UNC recorded seven assists while making 19 shots. Duke’s bench scored 31 points compared to Carolina’s bench with only six points. Despite numerous injuries in the backcourt, the Tar Heels refuse to use them as an excuse.
Kelly stated that currently, the team is not performing well, but they have the potential to improve. However, at the moment, they need to constantly work on getting better. In summary, the overall feeling is frustration.
Duke currently holds a record of 16 wins and 7 losses this season, with 8 wins and 4 losses in ACC games. Similarly, North Carolina has a record of 15 wins and 9 losses, with 7 wins and 5 losses in ACC games. The next scheduled matchups are Duke against ranked team Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Thursday and UNC against Pittsburgh at home on Thursday.