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The Daily Tar Heel

W. Basketball: Bench helps with rout of NCCU

Italee Lucas hit five 3-pointers against N.C. Central on Sunday in UNC?s last nonconference match-up. All 14 Tar Heels played at least nine minutes.

Due to a reporting error the caption with this story misstated what is North Carolina's final nonconference game of the season. The Tar Heels play South Dakota on March 15. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

For more than 14 minutes Sunday against N.C. Central Italee Lucas couldn't miss.

Five times she hoisted up 3-point shots and five times the net swished true.

About the only thing hotter than her effort was the play of No. 10 North Carolina (19-3) as a whole and the Tar Heels crushed the Lady Eagles 98-45 on 54.9 percent shooting.

Still" Lucas wasn't alone in her shooting prowess as four bench players contributed to a 14-0 UNC run in the game's first four minutes.

""After the losses" we had some practices where I about killed them coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

They didn't enjoy those practices" so hopefully they made an impact on them and they don't want to go there any more.""

The team's scoring difference against NCCU (8-15) allowed Hatchell to experiment with her lineup" and all 14 players garnered at least nine minutes.

Juniors Christina DeWitt and Trinity Bursey were the main benefactors of this system. Both saw early action when Hatchell subbed out all her starters 55 seconds into the game.

Moments after her entrance Dewitt slid in a jumper. For the next Tar Heel score" Bursey swished home a long 3-pointer.

""It's a lot of things that happen in practice" where they help get us better or even (them) working hard now to challenge us senior Rashanda McCants said. It's kind of the small things that make a big difference" and I think they played very well.""

Even with all the attention to a balanced output"" Hatchell's usual starters still made an impact.

Lucas started the show.

""When I hit the first one" I kind of felt like it was going to be a good night she said.

I just continue to shoot on my own time" and it's paying off.""

As fellow sophomore Cetera DeGraffenreid gathered the opening tip" Lucas calmly found a position in her new home for the first half — behind the arc.

Seconds later DeGraffenreid found her and the barrage began as Lucas netted her first 3-pointer of the afternoon.

Of the starters McCants in particular put together another impressive output with 14 points" four assists and four rebounds.

""The main thing I really work on in games now is rebounding" McCants said. If I'm rebounding" I'm feeling good.""

She quietly mixed together a soft jumper and some easy layups before making one last crowd-pleasing play upon exiting.

With just less than nine minutes remaining in the second" DeGraffenreid stood dribbling outside the 3-point arc. As she picked up her dribble" McCants darted around a screen and cut to the basket.

DeGraffenreid lobbed the ball toward the hoop as a streaking McCants banked in a perfect alley-oop.

It was the type of rim-attacking play the team has missed — the type of play that Hatchell hopes to become a mainstay once more as the team heads forward into a difficult patch of ACC play.

""(The offensive aggressiveness) is just a mentality" she said. That's the way our teams have always been" and I think we've gotten away from that in the last month or so.""

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