Blocks and forced turnovers opened up the North Carolina attack, not allowing the Spartans to get set on defense for the majority of the night. UNC threw a number of defensive schemes at the Spartans, forcing 14 turnovers.
First-year guard Stephanie Watts made a splash on the offensive end — leading all scorers with 21 points — but her presence on defense proved much more lethal.
Watts’ defensive duties were all on the perimeter, but the guard still found a way to lead her team with six blocks and 10 rebounds..
Once the Tar Heels got the ball rolling — laying their base on the defensive end — there was no slowing them down.
“The team has made it more of a mentality to take pride in our defense. I think that’s helped us a lot. Just saying, ‘My man’s not going to be the one to score.’” — Watts on her team’s improvement on the defensive end this season.
Senior Xylina McDaniel saw just 15 minutes on Wednesday. The forward lost part of a toenail ahead of this contest, so she saw limited action. McDaniel’s teammates picked up the slack, putting together one of UNC’s best performances all season.
Three numbers that matter
11: The Tar Heels had 11 steals, including five by senior guard N’Dea Bryant. Her length and active hands helped the Tar Heels reach this mark.
11: UNC made 11 3-pointers on Wednesday, marking a new season-high.
40: The Tar Heels doubled the Spartans' score, winning by 40 points. This marked UNC’s largest victory of the season.
The Tar Heels will take on Southern Miss at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.