The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday May 21st

Bell Shines as Tar Heels Trounce Wolfpack

Click here to see more photos from the game

North Carolina sophomore Nikita Bell planted her feet and outstretched her arms in an attempt to keep N.C. State's Kaaya Chones from an easy layup almost 10 minutes into the second half.

As the ball slipped through the net, Bell picked herself up from the floor where the 6-foot-3 center left her and sped down court. Chones' shot required a response.

It got one.

Less than 20 seconds later, Bell scored two points of her own.

Half a minute later, Bell proved she wasn't finished by completing a layup off a pass from Coretta Brown. She followed that with a driving layup, extending UNC's lead to 15.

Matching her career high of 18 points, Bell led the Tar Heels to an 80-59 win against N.C. State on Sunday at Carmichael Auditorium before a crowd of 5,367. The victory improved UNC's record to 12-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.

"I can't beat my career high for nothing," Bell said after the game, smiling.

North Carolina led for a majority of the game, maintaining a lead of at least eight points throughout the second half. Brown contributed 17 points, 12 of which came after halftime.

"We just knew that the second half is always our better half," Bell said. "We came out and played as hard as we could."

The No. 11 Tar Heels dominated N.C. State (6-7, 1-2) throughout the game.

"Their perimeter pretty much had their way in this game," said N.C. State coach Kay Yow. "They outplayed us on defense, outplayed us on offense, out-rebounded us; there is not a category."

North Carolina leads the nation in rebounding, a feat UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell has urged her team to maintain.

"We go out there, and she always said, 'Act like the ball is a million dollars and act like a crazy woman and go get it,'" Bell said. "That's what we do all the time."

On Sunday, the Tar Heels outrebounded the Wolfpack 47-36 and dominated the offensive boards 16-9. Jennifer Thomas led the way with 11 rebounds.

"We had a good team effort today," Hatchell said. "We had to tighten up because they put four guards in, and we matched it by putting four guards in. It helped us because it moved Nikita to the four position and that was good for us."

Brown wasn't shocked by Bell's performance.

"What she did today, that's what I expect every day of her because that's what she's capable of doing."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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