After a heartbreaking 60-58 loss to North Carolina in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, UT Martin had plenty of reason for disappointment. But senior Heather Butler is proud that her team managed to prove to the nation that they belong among the nation’s best.
Where do I even begin?
Well as everyone knows we lost to North Carolina by only two points, which was a huge heartbreak not only to the team but to our community, family, and fans. To be playing one of the biggest games of your career and having your ultimate goal right in the palms of your hands then watching it seep slowly through your fingers, was a mixture of disappointment, sadness, anger, and heartache.
The next thing you know the buzzer sounds and I am not going to lie, it felt like a dagger had pierced me right in my heart and I couldn’t do anything about it. When I was asked to write about the game, my first reaction was hesitant because I did not feel like I could find the words to talk about it.
Must Reads UT Martin’s excellent game plan fell short at UNC Nate Parham Coach Kevin McMillan’s decision to slow down the #13 UT-Martin Skyhawks’ first round game against the #4 North Carolina Tar Heels ended up looking brilliant. And even in loss, the Skyhawks proved they belonged. Butler on rising to the challenge of facing UNC M Robinson Heather Butler’s first guest blog was about making the tournament and rising to the challenge of facing a bigger program. Must Reads UT Martin’s excellent game plan fell short at UNC Butler on rising to the challenge of facing UNC
Then I thought to myself, I am not going to let this huge loss define who I am and keep me down. I have always been the type to bounce right back when life throws me bullets, and that is what I am going to continue to always do no matter what. People always say you get what you deserve, good or bad. It may not be now, but eventually it will happen, and I am a strong believer in that.
We fought so hard as a team, and I couldn’t be any happier or prouder to have been on a team that believed in each other and gave in to what our coaches said as we stepped on the court for our last game together. We deserved to win that ball game, and I believe most of everyone who was watching could see that.
But there are some things that you can’t control. I do not want to blame our loss on anything or anyone because there were a lot of calls that could have definitely went our way, some shots that we should have made, and turnovers we should not have committed. As a result, we end up with a tough loss.
Throughout the game, I kept thinking to myself, this is our time and moment to prove to everyone what we are capable of as a team by winning this game. We all were thinking that and to end up losing something you fought so hard for was one of the biggest heartaches.
With all of that being said, I can honestly say that we STILL proved to everyone how good of a basketball team we are. We were able to show the country that even though the opposing team may be taller, stronger, and full of athletes, anyone can come out on top. If you have the heart, determination, and drive anything is possible.
Even though North Carolina walked away with a victory, the country and Lady Tar Heels will now know who the UTM Lady Skyhawk’s are.
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