CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Charleston Southern fought to the finish but fell to North Carolina, 93-77, at Carmichael Arena on Tuesday afternoon.
"I think we competed," said CSU Head Coach Fred Applin. "We played hard today and I think we earned the respect of North Carolina because of it."
Junior transfer Breannah Bretches led the Buccaneer offense with her second consecutive double-digit game, scoring 21 points and shooting 50.0% (9-18) from the floor. While Bretches was the only Buc to break 20 points, Alyssa Mann, Ke'Asia Jackson and Rachel Burns also went double-digits in the contest.
"I think our whole team played really well," Applin said. "Alyssa and Ke'Asia were strong for us today and Breannah hit some really key baskets for us. We had people coming off the bench like Anna Webster, who hit a three and a jumper for us tonight. All in all, it was a great team effort."
The Buccaneers (2-2) got off to a slow start, with Jackson and Burns putting up 10 of CSU's 12 points in the first period. North Carolina (4-0) had a 29-12 point advantage going into the second period, but the Buccaneers fought back hard and never trailed by more than four points at the end of each of the remaining three periods.
"I think for some reason we just started slow, but then we challenged them," Applin said. "We generated some charges, our bench was really loud and supportive and we have got to keep that kind of energy throughout the whole year."
CSU was able to cut the Tar Heels' lead down to 11 points in the third period, but UNC went on a 9-0 run, draining three three-pointers in one minute. The Bucs fought to the finish and were able to draw two offensive fouls to go within nine points in the opening minutes of the fourth period. As tough of a fight as the Bucs put up, it wasn't enough to stop last season's ACC Freshman of the Year, Stephanie Watts. Watts lit up the Tar Heels' offense with a career-high 39 points and broke the ACC record for most three-pointers in a game, draining 10 of 14 attempts.
"She's a very good player and I told her that at the end of the game," Applin said. "I told her I'm going to be following her this season in their ACC matchups and I hope she continues to do great things."
Charleston Southern will remain on the road this week as they travel to Nashville to take on Lipscomb Saturday. Tipoff between the Buccaneers and the Bisons is set for 5:00 on ESPN3.