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The Daily Tar Heel

W. Basketball: UNC back on track with victory

Italee Lucas
UNC sophomore Italee Lucas scored a career-high 27 points in Thursday?s game against Wake Forest" 17 in the second half.

It wasn't particularly pretty" but after three consecutive losses the North Carolina women's basketball team finally put another notch in the win column taking a 77-66 decision from ACC foe Wake Forest.

And for at least one Tar Heel" it came just in time.

""Jessica (Breland) told me yesterday" ‘I'm ready to win again  ‘cause I don't like practices the way they are"'"" UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

""But we carried that to the court and just played harder tonight out there" which I think they enjoyed" getting back and getting that feeling of winning.""

And the Tar Heels just might have had to face another killer practice if not for a stellar performance from sophomore Italee Lucas.

Lucas scored a career-high 27 points"" 17 coming in the second half.

""(The basket) was looking pretty big"" Lucas said. Some shots I guess I probably shouldn't take. I got pulled out for those. But it was looking pretty big. I was comfortable out there.""

The Tar Heels (18-3" 4-2 ACC) threatened to pull away from Wake Forest several times throughout the game holding leads of 11-2 20-12 and 35-25.

But Wake Forest (13-5 1-4) answered each of UNC's runs with one of its own and the Deacons trailed by only five points at halftime" 38-33.

""They just kept coming after us"" Hatchell said. And they did not stop and give up.""

It looked as though North Carolina might pull away in the second half" after they took a 55-40 lead with 12:55 remaining.

But just as they had done over and over again the Demon Deacons rallied cutting the Tar Heels' lead to 59-56 with 7:24 remaining.

The next possession Lucas took over and the Tar Heels didn't look back.

Despite getting whacked in the head Lucas was able to drop in a 12-foot fader" as well as the following free-throw.

""They were kind of close" Lucas said. And I felt like I was hot tonight so — when it's going in" it's going in.""

There wasn't any doubt as to what led to UNC's inability to hold a lead: turnovers.

North Carolina gave Wake Forest the ball 26 times throughout the course of the game" including six miscues apiece from Lucas and Breland.

A majority of UNC's turnovers came in the half court where Wake Forest's defense was solid for most of the game.

But it wasn't just UNC's half-court offense that hurt the Tar Heels. It was Wake Forest's" as well.

""I just told him out in the hall" they run the best sets of  any team we play Hatchell said of Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen.

Their half-court sets and execution is really really good. … As soon as you pressure them" they get a back door.""

But when UNC played like UNC wanted to play"" the Deacons couldn't hold a candle to the Tar Heels' speed.

""From Tennessee to the Atlantic Ocean" on that logo out there they were going to win" Petersen said.

You've got to get out there in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or go out there somewhere by Nashville to even have a chance.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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