by Mike Potter
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC is trying desperately to get back onto the winning track in women's basketball.
Sylvia Hatchell's Tar Heels (16-8, 4-6 ACC), who were the favorites to win the ACC and were in the AP Top 25 until Monday, have lost five straight games.
And things may not get any easier tonight, when they travel to Wake Forest (15-10, 6-5) for a 7 p.m. game at Joel Coliseum.
The Tar Heels have won six straight in the series, but are as you can see behind Mike Petersen's Deacons in the ACC standings.
UNC almost broke the streak on Monday in an 82-78 double-overtime loss at Virginia, a matchup between the two teams getting the most votes without making the Top 25.
"We need to rebound better, make layups and make free throws," Hatchell said after Wednesday's practice. "It was unbelievable the shots we missed in the paint against Virginia. We've been having a lot of shooting drills with contact to try to get them comfortable with put-backs. They're going hard. If we could just ever get over the edge we could turn the corner."
UNC's junior point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid (pictured) said the performance against the Cavaliers was actually a step in the right direction.
"We probably need to just come out like we did in the Virginia game," DeGraffenreid said. "We know we can play better than we had the last few games. We showed that when we went to double overtime at Virginia. They're the third team in the conference. We need to come out with the intensity we did on Monday."
The Deacons have two freshmen from the Triangle in forward Lakevia Boykin from Southeast Raleigh and Asia Williams from Durham Hillside.
UNC at Wake Forest
[Thursday, 7 p.m., Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem]
UNC leads series 55-12.
Records: UNC 16-8, 4-6 ACC; WFU 15-10, 6-5.
Audio: WCHL-AM 1360, TarHeelBlue.com; WakeForestSports.com.
Coaches' records - UNC: Sylvia Hatchell: 828-290, 556-210 at UNC; WFU: Mike Petersen 275-215, 87-86 at WFU.
Leading scorers - UNC: Italee Lucas 16.4; WFU: Brittany Waters 13.8.
Leading rebounders - UNC: Laura Broomfield 7.7; WFU: Secily Ray 7.6.
Assist leaders - UNC: Cetera DeGraffenreid 5.4; WFU: Brooke Thomas 4.0.