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The Daily Tar Heel

Heels exploit XU turnovers

xavierturnovers
Guard Cetera DeGraffenreid had three steals and only one turnover Wednesday" and the Tar Heels finished with half the TOs Xavier recorded.

Take a quick look at the box score of Wednesday's game between Xavier and North Carolina and it might appear as though the Tar Heels got dominated.

And in many respects they did. With Xavier led by center Ta'Shia Phillips whose 25 rebounds broke Sean May's Smith Center record the Musketeers destroyed UNC on the boards" out-rebounding the Tar Heels 59-34.

Xavier also managed to limit UNC to 32.8 percent shooting.

But UNC was able to come out on top thanks to one important stat — one that has been far from a strength in the Tar Heels' first three games.

Turnovers.

UNC committed just one more than half of its season average of 24.

""Thank goodness"" coach Sylvia Hatchell said. We only had 13. That was good.""

Largely responsible for the unusually low number of miscues were UNC's point guards Cetera DeGraffenreid and She'la White.

The two kept the Tar Heels calm on the floor and had just two turnovers between them" while dishing out a combined seven assists.

As North Carolina was able to maintain possession for most of the night the Musketeers were not.

Xavier who came into the contest committing only 15.5 turnovers per game" handed the ball over to the Tar Heels 26 times.

""They're terrific defensively. They give you a lot of different looks"" Xavier coach Kevin McGuff said. It was really a very physical game.""

DeGraffenreid contributed in a big way with her three steals.

""I knew that they were going to be going off screens"" DeGraffenreid said. I just tried to just stay in the defense the whole time and keep putting pressure on them.""

Many of the Musketeers' miscues came when UNC baited them into a more hectic style than the post-laden Xavier club is accustomed to"" something which Hatchell said was a halftime talking point.

""Once we got the traps" we were getting out there and getting our hands on the passes Hatchell said. Our rotations were really good on our defense and it made them play chaotic" which is what we wanted to make them do.""

Perhaps Xavier's biggest turnover of the game came with just under 13 minutes of play remaining.

UNC first-year center Chay Shegog" who spent her 22 minutes locked up with Phillips in the post broke into a passing lane at half court" streaked down the court and was fouled on the ensuing layup.

The free throw brought the Tar Heels to within two points and sparked a Rashanda McCants run that gave the game to UNC.

""I thought it was a big spark for the team"" McCants said. Because you have a freshman — and a center at that — getting into the passing lane and actually making a steal.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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