first_imgBrianna Butler had a chance to redeem the worst shooting night of her Syracuse career.She had shot 2-of-21. She had missed all 14 of her 3-points attempts. She had committed a team-high four turnovers and had two critical fouls to let North Carolina back into the game.But everything could have been made right when she stepped to the free-throw line with Syracuse up 59-56 and 14 seconds to play. Instead, the 83 percent free-throw shooter clanked both off the rim to give the Tar Heels a chance to tie the game.“Obviously Butler didn’t shoot the ball well,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said.Without Butler, Syracuse shot 36 percent. With her, that number dipped to 27 percent. Yet, the Orange’s strong defense and rebounding somehow made Butler’s shooting performance moot in No. 25 SU’s (16-7, 6-4 Atlantic Coast) 61-56 win over No. 13 North Carolina (18-5, 5-4) on Thursday night in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I always have faith in her, regardless of if she’s not making shots or if she is,” guard Cornelia Fondren said. “I know she can knock down shots, tonight just wasn’t her night.”With nine minutes to play and Syracuse up by four, Butler — who was not made available for interviews — tried a step-back jumper from the top of the key and air balled it left of the rim. The next possession down she pulled up from 3 and clanked it off the side of the rim. As the game’s final seconds wore down with Syracuse clinging to a five-point lead, her jumper once again went out of bounds instead of in the basket.She played 37 minutes and shot whenever she was open, but nothing could get her going.“Everybody has off nights once in a while,” UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell said.For Butler though, the off nights have been nearly every night. She’s shooting just 27.7 percent from the field and a tad worse from behind the arc. Her numerous attempts — and subsequent misses — have forced many questions in Hillsman’s direction all season. In return, he’s always said he wants her to shoot more.On Thursday, when it was asked again, he told the reporter to answer his own question. When the reporter didn’t, he turned the microphone around and asked another reporter to answer the question for him.So while Butler has yet to break out of her season-long slump, Hillsman has yet to lose confidence in his starting small forward.“I think she passed up about five or six of them,” Hillsman said with a grin on his face as he prepared to leave the interview room. “She should have been 0-for-21.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img

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