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The Daily Tar Heel

W. Basketball: Jackets dusted

Sophomore point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid lays in two of her team-high 22 points on Sunday

In a matchup that pitted the ACC's top-scoring offense against its stingiest defense the North Carolina women's basketball team worked through a forgettable first half to cruise to a 73-50 victory against Georgia Tech.

Making things more difficult for the Tar Heels was the fact that they were less than 48 hours removed from a road loss to Florida State.

The last time the Tar Heels and Georgia Tech faced off" UNC was also coming off a loss — a 30-point drubbing from No. 1 Connecticut —  and the Tar Heels fell to the Yellow Jackets 66-62.

""That was our first loss of the year" and it hit us pretty hard" Sylvia Hatchell said. We lost some confidence. 

""I told 'em yesterday. Friday night's over. … We're going to watch film. We're going to learn from it" and then we're going to forget about it" and we're going to get ready for Georgia Tech because we have to do that.""

But after 20 minutes of play" it looked like the losing feelings might still be lingering.

The No. 8 Tar Heels (22-4" 7-3 ACC) committed a disastrous 19 turnovers in the opening period.

Passes sailed over heads; balls were dribbled off feet; and Georgia Tech traps forced Tar Heel toes onto the out of bounds line.

Spectators grew familiar with the PA announcer's demoralizing phrase: ""Out of bounds. Possession Yellow Jackets"" and the turnovers constantly cued associate head coach Andrew Calder to remind players to make the simple pass.

But despite the miscues — and losing the battle on the boards by four rebounds — North Carolina went into the locker room at the half with a 2-point lead, 34-32.

And when UNC emerged for the final 20 minutes, it was a different Tar Heel team.

We're really not used to being pressed that much" North Carolina point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid said. We had to settle down and run things through their press. It really wasn't that great in the first half" but we adjusted in the second half.""

And the adjustments worked out well" as UNC had only eight second-half miscues and went on a 15-0 run early in the period to put the Jackets away.

DeGraffenreid led the way for the Tar Heels who had four players score in double figures as she netted 22 points and dished out eight assists — while picking up four steals for good measure.

In addition to an impressive offensive showing in the second half the Tar Heel defense tightened up as well.

Georgia Tech (18-7 5-5 ACC) made just six field goals in the second half in 30 attempts. And for a early stretch that lasted 11:27" the Yellow Jackets didn't manage to make a field goal. Not one.

""Any time you do that on the road against one of the top teams in the country" that's usually not a good thing" Ga. Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said.

The Tar Heels also made up for the lackluster rebounding performance of the first period as both Jessica Breland and Christina Dewitt notched double-doubles. They each grabbed 11 boards while scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.

We were watching really close" keeping the rebounding numbers on the bench" Hatchell said. We've got to have kids in there that are going to go get the rebounds. That's the bottom line. It's not about scoring points. It's about getting the rebounds.""

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