Current Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 11:18:24 -0500
Waltiea Rolle looked like a tree among shrubbery.
The North Carolina center towered over Radford on the court and on the stat sheet on Wednesday.
Rolle had 24 points, seven rebounds and five blocks, providing much of UNC’s offense in its 64-42 win.
Rolle started off slowly — turning the ball over twice and missing a few layups — and was not heavily involved in the No. 21 Tar Heels’ offense in the opening minutes. But when UNC started feeding her the ball in the post, Radford had no defender tall enough or quick enough to stop her. Even with her slow start, Rolle — listed at 6 feet, 6 inches — still scored 21 of UNC’s first 43 points.
Coach Sylvia Hatchell said Radford’s defensive scheme at first prevented North Carolina from getting Rolle the ball.
“They were packing it in in a match-up zone, so that’s why we couldn’t get the ball in there to her,” Hatchell said. “Krista (Gross) was able to get open, get the ball inside and start getting it in there. And when we did that, they went man-to-man.”
Ema Reskoska, at 6-foot-4, was the tallest defender the Highlanders could match up with Rolle. But Reskoska was too slow moving up and down the court to stay on Rolle. She played just 17 minutes, the fewest of any Radford starter.
“I was outrunning her,” Rolle said. “I was just running the floor. She couldn’t keep up.”
Reskoska also didn’t contribute much on offense. She finished the game with two points, as well as two shots that Rolle blocked with ease.
With Reskoska a non-factor, Radford mostly used a combination of their next tallest players — 6-foot-2 La-She’ Walker and 6-foot-1 Sarah Tabb to attempt to contain Rolle. But Walker and Tabb didn’t have the height to defend her or challenge her on the offensive end.
Walker had just three points, and Tabb had four. At multiple times during the game, Tabb ended up sprawled on the floor while trying to guard Rolle or attack her inside.
Rolle said she was too tall for Walker and Tabb to successfully guard her, and that none of the three Radford defenders that guarded her during the game was a challenging matchup.
With Rolle dominating the shorter Highlanders, forward Xylina McDaniel — the only other Tar Heel in double figures, with 16 points — said UNC players even occasionally passed up open shots to keep getting Rolle the ball.
“Waltiea was killing,” McDaniel said.
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