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The Daily Tar Heel

Teasley's Pass-First Mentality Leads UNC in Win

This time, there was another unusually tall girl running the point, and Nikki Teasley didn't make things any easier on the Crimson than did Jones.

"Marion Jones spoiled me," said UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell. "When I had Marion, you know, you could see over other people and they can't press them and all that."

The 6-foot Teasley was at least two inches taller than all of Harvard's guards, and she towered over 5-foot-6 Crimson point guard Jennifer Monti.

And Teasley had no problem taking that edge and running with it. She finished with 11 assists to compensate for a 2-of-9 performance from the floor.

Teasley's assists gave her 710 for her career. Teasley, who owns UNC's assist record, now is 20 away from the ACC record for dimes. The record is held by former Virginia guard Dawn Staley.

"As a point guard, my obligation is to dish the basketball," Teasley said. "As I'm looking at the stat sheet, I'm glad I did, looking at my shooting percentage."

Teasley hit wide-open Jennifer Thomas under the basket from the top of the key with a no-look pass with 15:43 left in the game, making the score 55-34.

The basket marked the fifth and sixth points of the nine Thomas scored in the 4 minutes, 53 seconds before the first official timeout of the half. All of Thomas' three baskets came off of Teasley assists.

"Nikki's always looking to pass more than she's looking to score," Hatchell said. "She had 11 assists and she did a nice job getting the ball to Candace (Sutton), Jennifer and Coretta (Brown)."

One of Teasley's more highlight-worthy assists went to backcourt mate Brown, who got the play started by tipping a pass at halfcourt. Teasley got her hand up and slapped the ball to the ground, and Brown hit it back toward the basket. Teasley streaked to the hoop with Monti hot on her heels.

As she passed the hoop, Teasley flicked the ball over her shoulder to Brown, who scooped it up for an easy lay-in.

Golden Season Continues

Fifth-seeded Minnesota kept its remarkable season alive by thumping UNLV 74-54 in the first game Saturday.

The No. 18 Golden Gophers, armed with first-year coach, Brenda Oldfield, finished 21-7 overall and third in the Big Ten in the regular season.

All-American candidate Lindsay Whalen gave Minnesota 29 points, including 9 of 10 from the free-throw line.

"We talked before the game about being a contender or a pretender," Oldfield said. "Contenders are ready to play and aren't going to be nervous and pretenders use it as an excuse not to be ready to play. We talked about stepping out and setting the tempo from the minute we started, and it was exciting to see."

Big Basket

With their advancement to the second round guaranteed by a 25-plus lead in the closing minutes of the game, the Tar Heels' happiest moment didn't come when the buzzer sounded.

Instead, the bench erupted when junior Elizabeth Coughran hit a turnout jumper with 1:59 to go.

Coughran served as one of the team's managers last year and made it onto the team as a walk-on this year. She's often the last person off the bench during a blowout and hadn't scored a point until Saturday.

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