6-foot-3 forward Schuye LaRue would score her points Thursday night.
But the Tar Heels probably weren't expecting the 29-point bomb she dropped in their lap.
LaRue, a sophomore averaging 16.5 points per game, tied her career high in points on 13-of-20 shooting and also chipped in 10 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers past UNC 78-76.
The Tar Heels learned just exactly why LaRue was a preseason All-ACC selection. LaRue was also conference player of the week (Nov. 27) and was named to the Preseason WNIT All-Tournament team.
"We just couldn't handle her," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.
That's quite the understatement.
LaRue abused whoever was trying to guard her -- whether that was the 6-5 LaShonda Allen, the 6-6 Candace Sutton or the myriad of smaller players who each got their turn with LaRue.
LaRue used her quickness to get open looks, even when she seemed to be covered. Her quickness was no match for the bigger but slower Tar Heel forwards and centers.
That difference in speed made the difference on her game-winning shot. Taking the ball outside of the 3-point arc, LaRue split the Tar Heel defense and layed it in virtually uncontested.
"I was just trying to go to the basket and score," she said. "It was a tie game, so there was nothing to lose. I just wanted to take it to the basket strong."
That never seemed to be a problem. LaRue scored the vast majority of her 29 points under or around the basket -- left hand, right hand, off the glass. She scored the Cavs' first six points and 12 of their first 21, each bucket within five feet of the hoop.
But, yes, that was LaRue knocking down a big 3-pointer with 5:49 left in the second half to give Virginia 68-65 lead.
"She's good on the outside, and you can put her on the perimeter," UVa. guard Telisha Quarles said. "She's a good player all around.
"But if she doesn't have anything, she'll kick it right back out and get us (guards) good looks."
As good as LaRue was inside, it was perhaps her ability to create space for her backcourt that made the difference in the game.
"I feel like it was a good game for the team," LaRue said. "I did what I had to do, scored when I had to score and pushed the ball up the court well."
After being shut out for the first 20 minutes, Quarles scored 17 in the second half. The Tar Heels seemed to forget about Quarles when their hands were so full with LaRue.
Quarles found her stroke in the second half hitting 3-of-5 from behind the arc. She also had four steals, two of which led to her own fast-break conversion at the other end.
"I didn't want Schuye to feel like the only one out there," Quarles said.
Even if she were by herself, there was no guarantee that the Tar Heels would have won Thursday night.
"We were trying all types of things to stop her," Hatchell said. "But she gets so much off her quickness, and she gets so much off her rebounds. When she missed, she just put it right back in."
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