All Heels breaks loose after Smith's buzzer-beater

Updated: April 5, 2006, 9:48 PM ET
By Mechelle Voepel | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: As the NCAA celebrates its 25th season of women's basketball, ESPN and ESPN.com count down the top 25 moments of NCAA Tournament history. Here, we wrap up the countdown with memorable NCAA moment No. 1, Charlotte Smith's buzzer-beater that clinched North Carolina the 1994 NCAA title.

Charlotte Smith
Jim Gund/Getty ImagesCharlotte Smith's buzzer-beater clinched UNC the 1994 title.

The truth is, Charlotte Smith didn't even hear the play called in the huddle. North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell originally had opted for 6-foot-5 center Sylvia Crawley to get the inbounds pass as her Tar Heels trailed Louisiana Tech 59-57 with seven-tenths of a second left in the 1994 national championship game.

But when that wasn't open, inbounds passer Stephanie Lawrence called a timeout. She was asked later about keeping her head in that situation, and Lawrence basically said she'd been throwing the ball inbounds for so long in her basketball career that she didn't get nervous anymore. Age actually would change that. Years later, Lawrence would say she got nervous just watching the replay.

Lucky for the Tar Heels, though, that she was cool as could be that day. Because without "The Pass," there never could have been "The Shot."

The teams huddled and a new play was called. North Carolina would look for Smith and a game-winning 3. But as the Tar Heels went back out on the floor, Smith realized she had kind of "zoned-out" in the timeout. She asked Crawley what the play was. Crawley said, "It's for you, Charlotte."

Louisiana Tech opted not to guard the inbounds pass, and Lawrence took advantage. She zipped the ball to Smith … who put it up and … all Heels broke loose. Smith's shot, the most memorable moment in women's NCAA Tournament history, won the game 60-59.

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.