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Heels Fall Short of Final Four

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It just wasn't meant to be.

The UNC women's basketball team got off to a great start versus Stanford in the regional final. The Tar Heels led by as much as 13 points in the first half and seemingly could not miss from three early in the first half. Allisha Gray was particularly hot hitting three three pointers and scoring 19 for the game. The Cardinal stormed back but UNC withstood the run to take a 36-30 lead at halftime.

In the second half, it was UNC's youth versus Stanford's experience and the results were somewhat predictable. The Cardinal's All-American center Chiney Ogwumike began to assert herself on the block and there was little UNC could do to stop her. Stanford pushed out to an eight point lead seemed to be in control. The Tar Heels had one more run and rallied to take a 63-62 lead plus possession of the ball with under four minutes left. UNC failed to convert on the possession setting off a 13-2 Stanford run to close the game. In the end UNC's inexperience doomed them versus a seasoned team that was able to execute on the offensive end more consistently.

The Heels finish 27-10 amid losing the head coach for the season. Associate head coach Andrew Calder did a tremendous job in place of Sylvia Hatchell who was never able to coach a game this season after being diagnosed with leukemia. Over the course of the season, this team showed both how talented they were in beating South Carolina and Duke twice but also their youth in losing a few games they should have won against clearly inferior teams. Shoring up the latter and still doing the former will make this team a solid ACC and Final Four contender next season.