CARMICHAEL AUDITORIUM/CHAPEL HILL UNC plays its last home non-conference game before the ACC Tournament in women’s basketball, and the Tar Heels are going to be heavily favored.
The visitor is Winston-Salem State, which had at one time been scheduled to be a full member of Division I next season but has given up the quest and will return to full Division II membership next season instead.
It’s the Tar Heels’ third game in five days at Carmichael Auditorium, which has undergone a major renovation to make it a small showpiece arena for women’s basketball and some other sports.
And this one goes pretty much as expected, as the Tar Heels roll 101-38.
Even though UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell has regular starting guards Cetera DeGraffenreid and Italee Lucas on the bench at the start of the game to motivate them to play more stringent defense, it doesn’t matter. The Tar Heels are ahead 13-0 before either one hits the court.
The biggest lead is 66, when it’s 99-33 with 3:33 left after a pair of Wood free throws.
DeGraffenreid, who became the 31st player to surpass the 1,000-point career mark on Thursday against East Tennessee State, finishes with 15 points to lead six Tar Heels in double figures. Lucas adds 14, She’la White (pictured) 12, Trinity Bursey 11 and Martina Wood and Cierra Robertson-Warren 10 apiece. Nicole Powell, who had 11 career points coming into the game, scores a career best nine including a 3-pointer and is on the receiving end of a successful alley-oop.
Taneisha White comes off the bench to score a career-high 10 for WSSU.
UNC shoots 54.3 percent to WSSU’s 21.3, wins the rebound battle 52-32 and forces 18 turnovers to 16 of its own.
The Tar Heels get a scare with freshman Tierra Ruffin-Pratt screams out in pain when she jams a shoulder at 12:47 of the first half and leaves for the day. Hatchell said X-rays indicate no broken bones, and that her status for upcoming games will be evaluated later.
Sophomore center Chay Shegog misses her second straight game with concussion symptoms, but Hatchell said she should be probable for the ACC opener against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.
They said it …
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “”This was good to let everybody get some minutes and time out there, because the rest of the way all we’ve got is ACC and UConn. Different people are stepping up. She’la’s driving a lot more and able to dish out. With (White and DeGraffenreid) out there, we can keep our attack going pretty consistently. It was good we were able to let a lot of kids play. … Some of our kids are scoring well, but we’re just trying to get their defense a little bit better. Some people didn’t grade out as high as they should have (in the previous game against East Tennessee State), especially defensively, and that was one of the main reasons (the starting lineup) was changed up. And Trinity has been playing well and in practice and I was trying to reward her.”
WSSU coach Dee Stokes: “Our game plan was we wanted to score 45 points and have less than 25 turnovers. We didn’t accomplish either of those. We wanted to execute our offense the best we could and slow the tempo, and we didn’t do a very good job of that, either.”
White: “It’s fun being out there with Cetera and Italee. We’re so quick, I don’t think anyone can stop it.”
DeGraffenreid: “It’s always fun when you have three different people up there who can push the ball up and down the court. “If you don’t get it, you know they’re going to get it and push it down the floor. It’s been fun.”
What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels can do a good job keeping focus against an overmatched opponent, even rewarding the deep bench with some easy baskets. That WSSU is going to have a lot of experience playing against top-level basketball teams when it returns to the CIAA next season.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Krista Gross’ alley-oop from DeGraffenreid with 3:29 left in the first to make it 46-14.
UNC leads 2-0.
UNC: Won 7.
WSSU: Lost 8.
WSSU at N.C. Central, Tuesday, 7 p.m.
UNC vs. Georgia Tech, Wednesday, 7 p.m.