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Candace Brown’s buzzer beater lifts Gardner-Webb to 66-65 win at #22 North Carolina

Published on November 13, 2015


Photo: Gardner-Webb Athletics.

Photo: Gardner-Webb Athletics.

Box score || Quotes

Gardner-Webb Release:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior guard Candace Brown’s layup beat the buzzer Friday afternoon, lifting Gardner-Webb to a 66-65 win at No. 22/20 North Carolina in both teams’ season opener at Carmichael Auditorium.

Brown’s heroics came after Jamie Cherry’s three-pointer gave the Tar Heels (0-1) a 65-64 lead with eight seconds left. Veteran head coach Kierra Currie called a timeout with 7.1 seconds left and drew up a play for Brown, who delivered to cap a tremendous all-around game.

It was the first win over a top-25 team for Gardner-Webb (1-0) since its move to NCAA Division I prior to the 2000-2001 season. It was also the program’s first win over a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Gardner-Webb (1-0) led 25-24 at halftime, but saw North Carolina heat up in the third quarter – opening up a 51-36 lead when that period’s buzzer sounded. Reeves’ Runnin’ Bulldogs had a run of their own in store, however, outscoring the Tar Heels 30-14 in the final 10 minutes to take the win.

Olivia Parker sandwiched five points around a Tierra Huntsman trey to spark an 8-0 run out of the third quarter break for Gardner-Webb and Kierra Currie nailed back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 53-52 with 6:12 remaining in the game. That capped a 16-2 run that seized momentum for the visitors from Boiling Springs, N.C.

North Carolina got baskets from Erika Johnson and Stephanie Watts to pull out to a 58-54 lead, but Brown scored four in a row to tie the game at 58 with 4:02 remaining. Currie connected on a jumper with 3:05 left for a 60-58 Gardner-Webb lead – before Cherry responded with back-to-back jump shots of her own to give the Tar Heels a 62-60 edge with 2:14 on the clock.

Parker made a free throw with 1:55 left to pull Gardner-Webb within one and Alexus Hill made two charity shots with 50 seconds left for a 63-62 lead that would stand until Cherry’s long three-point make.

Both teams struggled to score early in the game, with North Carolina taking a 12-10 lead after the first 10 minutes. Gardner-Webb took the lead in the second quarter on a Parker three ball with 3:32 to play before halftime and extended the lead to 25-21 on a Brown basket with 1:42 on the clock.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs – who made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011 – shot 38 percent for the game (24-of-63) and held a 42-41 edge on the backboards.

Brown, a native of Hinton, WVa., was outstanding throughout, finishing with a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocked shots. Hill added 14 points and Parker (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The power forward made two of Gardner-Webb’s eight three-point baskets and also pilfered three steals.

Huntsman totaled 10 points and seven assists from her point guard spot, knocking down half of her four three-point attempts. Currie came off the bench to finish with eight points and three rebounds. GWU pressured North Carolina into 19 turnovers and turned those miscues into 13 points.

Cherry led North Carolina with a game-high 25 points, Hillary Summers added 13, Destinee Walker had 11 and Watts scored 10 before fouling out. The Tar Heels shot 38.5 percent for the game (25-of-65), but made just 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) from long range.

Gardner-Webb returns home to start a five-game home stand, beginning with Montreat on Tuesday morning at 11:30 am ET as part of Education Day at Paul Porter Arena.

GWU will then host Wofford (Nov. 19, 6:00 pm ET), UNC Greensboro (Nov. 24, 7:00 pm ET) and Pacific (Nov. 28, 1:00 pm ET) before starting Big South Conference action at home vs. Liberty on December 2 (7:00 pm ET).

Gardner-Webb Head Coach Rick Reeves Opening Statement

“It was a great win for us, for our program. I was very proud of our players. That they never quit. We got down 15, called a couple timeouts, and at half time when we were up 1 we made a lot of turnovers. At half time I thought we could have been up a little bit more but you know Carolina is a well coached team. I told our team the first five minutes of the third period is really important. Not just that but the whole third period they made a run and we said stay in it, stay in it. We are going to come back. It was a great win, a win that for me, I am really happy for the players but I think the world of Sylvia Hatchel and her staff. She is a wonderful person and has done a lot for Women’s Basketball throughout the country.”

3 pointers key, What did Carolina do today that allowed you guys to find a victory?

“I think we did a good job. We won 8 of our last 12 last year. I felt like we were 18 seconds from being the conference. We had a great shot at getting Liberty. So we have just kinda carried over that. We had good spacing, We have some young kids on the team and they are going to be pretty good but we didn’t use them because we are teaching them how to tred water and swim in the 5 foot and this is the 10 foot and they just weren’t ready for that. I think Carolina has got some freshman playing and they are freshman. The best thing about a freshman is they become a sophomore.

When you were 15 down…

“I told them if you don’t start playing hard enough, none of you are getting on the bus. You will walk home. No I didn’t say that. I just have confidence in them cus we were playing hard but we weren’t playing smart at the time. Giving Carolina credit, we had runs that they put away. We made a little bit of adjustments when we went to a smaller lineup and it worked out for us.

Gardner-Webb’s Candace Brown

Thoughts after Cherry’s shot

“I saw a couple of our players heads go down and I was like guys we still have 7 seconds and I knew we had a good chance to win it. If we got fouled we were at the line so I had complete confidence that we were going to win it. 7 seconds is a long time”

What was going through your head when you made that final shot?

“I knew I had to win the game so I did whatever it took to win the game. So that was all that was going through my head, Win.”

UNC Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell Opening statement

“We lost the game by one. We should’ve won. We were up by fifteen to start the fourth quarter, and we left some shooters open. We didn’t get the rebounds. We missed some shots that we should’ve made. I thought we got a lot of good shots and we missed shots that we should’ve made. Some of that is the youthfulness on our team. We’ve got some kids out there. We’ve got two freshmen all the time, and we’ve got some other kids that are still learning. The good thing is we’re going to continue to get better and better, but I thought we got a lot of really good shots. We had some cuts and drives and stuff down the stretch there and we got some rebounds. But put backs, we were throwing them over the backboard, things like that. We’ve got to make those shots. And some of that’s going to come with time and experience. The freshman will continue to get better and better. We had some missed defensive assignments out there because they weren’t talking and communicating. We lost some players and everything. We’ve got things that we can correct. But the thing is we were up by fifteen with ten minutes to go, and we weren’t able to hang on. We let them get loose and make some shots. I told them, I said ‘they’re going to start taking threes because they’re behind’ and we weren’t tight enough on them and they started making shots and everything. Just played a little smarter and harder than we did down the stretch. But they’re a very good team. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They’re strong, physical, they’re known for offensive rebounding, and that was big.”

Coach Hatchell on Jamie Cherry’s impact:

“She did that for us last year. Probably three or four games, Jamie made the big shots at the end, and she wants the ball. Now we’ve got to get more of them wanting the ball in situations. That’s just going to come with a lot more experience because everybody in there, none of them started last year.”

UNC’s Jamie Cherry on her shot to take a late lead:

“I thought we were going to end it after I made it. We kind of got lost in the last play. Everybody assumed that they were going to call backcourt, and as soon as everybody stood up, that’s when she started driving to the basket. I was hoping it would be the last shot.”


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