CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- After breaking her nose in Friday's game and struggling Saturday, North Carolina guard Jamie Cherry returned to start in Sunday's game against the Yale Bulldogs on the final day of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Challenge at Carmichael Arena.
This time, the senior guard didn't let a cumbersome face mask stop her from making a pair of clutch three-pointers and leading the Heels in points to win the tournament.
"Yesterday was kind of like get used to the mask thing, just getting used to being able to see out of it and get my breathing down pat," Cherry said after the game. "Just to see, of course, those two threes go in, cause the past few days I haven't been hitting shots, it was confidence for me."
Both teams came in having won three games in a row. The UNC team as a whole struggled in making clean passes in the first half with 13 turnovers. The Bulldogs took advantage of the sloppiness, scoring eight points off of UNC's turnovers. Nyasha Sarju was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 13 points.
UNC's N'Dea Bryant came out with a purpose, scoring within the first 10 minutes of the game. The senior guard stepped up hustling on the defensive end, also. Bryant came up with the rebound after teammate Stephanie Watts missed her shot and drove back up for the layup to put the Heels up 28 to 20.
"N'Dea probably, in my estimate, probably has had the best game she's ever had, because she had 13 rebounds," Said Tar Heels Coach Sylvia Hatchell. "I challenged her before the game, and she did it. I said, ‘N'Dea, don't let me down.' She didn't let me down."
UNC guard Destinee Walker obviously wanted in on Sunday's action, because the freshman drove to the line twice. Walker knocked out both of her three-pointers to help the Heels.
Five seconds left in the first half, and Cherry did what Cherry typically does - she goes for the last-second shots. She came out with a layup to take the Heels to a 33 to 21 lead.
Cherry led in points for the Heels, with 24 points.
Coming back in the second half, UNC's Xylina McDaniel started the show with a key steal to take it down the court and force a foul, making both of her free throws at the line. The forward is starting to find the chemistry with her teammates.
In the last 10 seconds, the Bulldogs' Sarju fouled Cherry sending Cherry to the line to make one of two free throws. The Heels won 70 to 63.
On Wednesday (November 25), the Heels face Pacific at 2 p.m. in Chapel Hill. The Bulldogs will meet Holy Cross at 2 p.m., Wednesday in New Haven, Conn.