The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, May 26, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels shine late against in-state rival

UNC sophomore Cetera DeGraffenreid continued her role as UNC?s ?quarterback? and finished with 14 points and four assists Monday.

RALEIGH — Though North Carolina never trailed Monday night a pesky N.C. State team just refused to go away.

Eventually Cetera DeGraffenreid and Jessica Breland made them.

Despite numerous N.C. State scoring runs and an evenly matched rebounding game UNC put some distance on the scoreboard when Breland scored five points down the stretch and DeGraffenreid hit 12 second-half free throws.

No. 9 North Carolina eventually won by a 74-57 margin its 17th victory in the last 19 games between the two teams.

After attempting just two free throws in the first half N.C. State attacked the basket after the break. The Wolfpack earned 13 trips to the line in the second half to get back in the game. With every UNC foul Reynolds Coliseum grew louder.

But when it came down to crunch time" DeGraffenreid's poise with the ball allowed the lead to be preserved until the clock ran out.

""Cetera DeGraffenreid continues to do a nice job being our little quarterback and running our team for us"" UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

DeGraffenreid would patiently wait as the shot clock ran down, then run off a screen and make the right decision with the ball.

Though she didn't score in the first half, she finished the game with 14 points, four assists and no late errors against the Wolfpack press.

In the first half, it was UNC's bigs that handled the scoring load. The Tar Heels (24-4, 9-3 in the ACC) outscored N.C. State by a 20-8 margin in the paint, fueled by seven points off the bench from freshman Chay Shegog.

But UNC's balance eventually showed, as five Tar Heels finished in double figures, led by guard Italee Lucas' game-high 16.

We play our best basketball when we play as a team"" said Rashanda McCants, whose 13 points included her 1,500th career tally.

Sometimes we're a little selfish" and whenever we talk to each other and let each other know it's team basketball we kind of go away from the opponent we're playing" she said.

It happens every time.""

Once again" though UNC struggled to rebound the ball against a physical Wolfpack team. N.C. State (12-15 4-8) shot just 30.6 percent for the game" but the team outworked the Tar Heels often and snatched 21 offensive rebounds.

""The biggest thing was N.C. State rebounding so hard"" Hatchell said. They just came at us and just kept on.""

But the Wolfpack largely failed to capitalize on all those extra chances. Though their offensive rebounds outnumbered UNC's by 12" the teams wound up even in second-chance points.

North Carolina's transition game also benefited by all the Wolfpack's misses especially early on. After a rebound" the Tar Heels looked to run off an outlet pass. And N.C. State struggled to get back in time.

""We were a step behind all night long" Wolfpack interim coach Stephanie Glance said. I thought Carolina did what they do best. We didn't hit our shots early" and they're going to run on you. And they did their thing.""

Glance" who has stepped in since the death of former N.C. State coach Kay Yow had led the Wolfpack to three straight wins prior to Monday night.

And Hatchell was quick to give her praise after the game — perhaps hinting to N.C. State athletic director Lee Fowler" who opened the search for N.C. State's next coach this week.

""I give my full endorsement — it doesn't mean anything" but I'm going to say it anyway — I think they need to just go ahead and name (Glance) the coach Hatchell said.

There's no doubt that she deserves it" and she's doing a great job with these teams.

""And I know that that's what Kay wanted.""

Contact the Sports Editor at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.