Passionate Hodgson pins hopes on her shooting, defense continuing to put off the end of her college career

By R.L. Bynum

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eva Hodgson donned her signature bucket hat on Sunday as she talked about the relief of North Carolina’s first-round escape.

She knows that her college career is one Tar Heels loss from ending, and you could see the emotion of that reality when she was on the sidelines on Saturday.

Hodgson missed out on eight games of her final season with an upper-body injury, finally returning to play in her senior day game, and isn’t ready for it to end any time soon.

“Yeah, something that’s constantly going through my mind is leaving with no regrets, and passion is one thing that is perfectly in my control,” Hodgson said Sunday ahead of No. 20-ranked and No. 6 seed North Carolina’s second-round game Monday at 4 p.m. (ESPN) against No. 12-ranked and No. 3-seed Ohio State on the Buckeyes’ home court at the Schottenstein Center.

“Being able to bring that every night is important but especially [Saturday] night,” Hodgson. “It was like, this isn’t going to be my last game. And so I’m going to will it not to be my last game, and that’s what showed on the court.”

Hodgson did her part with a team-high three 3-pointers and nine points, three assists and impressive defensive play that included three steals in the Tar Heels’ 61–59 escape of St John’s in Saturday’s first round.

“There’s also some excitement, too,” Hodgson said.” You made it through the first round, and now you have legs under you, and it’s like, ‘okay, what’s next?’, and it’s always looking ahead.”

Carolina has had its share of close games, and although the St. John’s game was nerve-wracking, Hodgson said that the experience the Tar Heels have with tension-filled games served them well.

“I think to be able to weather a close game like that where towards the end of the game, it swung in their direction,” Hodgson said of the win over the Red Storm. “At points, you were unsure of who was going to get the last touch. To be able to weather that, I think, is really important for our team just as a whole.”

She noted the key free throws that true freshman Paulina Paris and redshirt freshman Teonni Key made down the stretch in their taste of NCAA tournament play, which shows the team’s depth of talent.

“They were able to experience a high-intensity game right off the bat, so it sets you up well moving forward I think,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson bought the bucket hat in Arizona last season on a trip that ended with the Tar Heels beating No. 4-seed Arizona on its homecourt to earn a Sweet 16 berth.


“It kind of feels like a vibe,” Hodgson said, remembering the successful trip out west. “And it was beautiful weather, so it was fitting.”

She has pins on the front from every NCAA tournament round that the Tar Heels play, although she’s still waiting for her pin from this season.

“If anyone has pins that they think are deserving of going on the hat, let me know, because there’s plenty more space,” Hodgson said. “I am the OG bucket hat person despite the NCAA gifting everyone. I think I was the trendsetter.”

She’s ready to do what she can to will Carolina to another victory in Columbus to add another Sweet 16 pin to the collection and perhaps a Final Four pin.

Hodgson is pinning her hopes on more of her hot shooting, savvy play and tough defense continuing to extend Carolina’s season.

If her passion counts for anything, the Tar Heels have plenty of basketball left to play.

Note to readers: The NCAA doesn’t permit the media to videotape tournament press conferences but is supposed to upload the video to a website accessible to the media. It hasn’t uploaded the video of Sunday’s UNC press conference.

Columbus subregional

At the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio
Thursday’s play-in result

St. John’s 66, Purdue 64
Saturday’s first-round results
No. 3-seed Ohio State 80, No. 14 James Madison 66
No. 6 North Carolina 61, No. 11 St. John’s 59
Monday’s second round
Ohio State 71, North Carolina 69

(current ranking)
9WednesdayW, 91–59Jackson StateHome1–0
12SaturdayW, 75–48TCUHome2–0
16WednesdayW, 93–25South Carolina StateHome3–0
20SundayW, 76–65James MadisonHarrisonburg, Va.4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 85–79OregonPortland5–0
27SundayW, 73–64No. 17 Iowa State Portland6–0
DecemberACC/Big Ten Challenge
1ThursdayL, 87–63No. 2 IndianaBloomington, Ind.6–1
7WednesdayW, 64–42UNCWHome7–1
11SundayW, 99–67WoffordHome8–1
16FridayW, 89–47USC UpstateHome9–1
Jumpman Invitational
20TuesdayL, 76–68No. 18 MichiganCharlotte9–2
ACC season begins
29ThursdayL, 78–71Florida StateHome9–3, 0–1 ACC
1SundayL, 68–65No. 4
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.9–4, 0–2 ACC
5ThursdayL, 62–58MiamiCoral Gables, Fla.9–5, 0–3 ACC
8SundayW, 60–50No. 10
Notre Dame
1–3 ACC
12ThursdayW, 70–59VirginiaCharlottesville, Va.11–5,
2–3 ACC
15SundayW, 56–47N.C. StateHome12–5,
3–3 ACC
19ThursdayW, 61–56No. 13 DukeHome13–5,
4–3 ACC
22SundayW, 70–57Georgia TechHome14–5,
5–3 ACC
26ThursdayW, 72–57PittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
6–3 ACC
29SundayW, 69–58ClemsonClemson16–5,
7–3 ACC
2ThursdayW, 73–62VirginiaHome17–5,
8–3 ACC
5SundayL, 62–55LouisvilleLouisville17–6,
8–4 ACC
9ThursdayL, 75–67SyracuseSyracuse17–7,
8–5 ACC
12SundayW, 73–55Boston CollegeHome18–7,
9–5 ACC
16ThursdayL, 77–66, OTN.C. StateRaleigh18–8,
9–6 ACC
19SundayW, 71–58Wake ForestHome19–8,
10–6 ACC
23ThursdayL, 61–59No. 4
Virginia Tech
10–7 ACC
26SundayW, 45–41No. 13 DukeDurham20–9,
10–8 ACC
MarchACC Tournament
2ThursdayW, 68–58Clemson Greensboro21–9
3FridayL, 44–40No. 13 Duke Greensboro21–10
NCAA tournament
18SaturdayW, 61–59 St. John’sColumbus, Ohio22–10
20MondayL, 71–69No. 12 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio22–11

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s