The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Women's hoops defeats Radford

DeGraffenreid leads Tar Heels

 Radford (1-6) recovered from a five minute drought by sinking five straight shots from behind the arc to take a 17-16 lead halfway through the first period.


The Highlanders weren't on top for long. One minute after Radford jumped ahead, UNC guard Italee Lucas regained the lead 18-17 with a couple of free throws. The Tar Heels (7-1) held on to the lead for the rest of the game.


But the run of three-pointers werel the Highlanders had to show for their matchup against No. 11 North Carolina, and the game ended in a 74-48 Tar Heel victory.

“I thought it showed incredible courage and fortitude,” Radford coach Tajarna Abraham Ngongba said. “We’re a young team and in games like that it can go either way at any time. I think they stayed confident and poised throughout it all.”

A 12-0 run to open the game from UNC quickly dashed any Radfor

With just under 15 minutes left in the first half, Radford’s 6 foot forward Brooke McElroy scored the first basket for the Highlanders. McElroy would lead Radford in scoring for the game with 13 points.

In the first half the Highlanders shot 50 percent from behind the line and capitalized on UNC mistakes by scoring 17 points from 15 North Carolina turnovers.

“I looked up and it was 10-0, and then all of a sudden they were up by one point,” UNC guard Cetera DeGraffenreid said. “I think we backed off a little bit and started going after them like we did in those first few minutes.”

North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell substituted seven times in the first 10 minutes of play.

“I think a lot of times I have more confidence in my players than they have themselves,” Hatchell said. “I started substituting really freely. Maybe I made a mistake by substituting too much too early. They caught up and took the lead.”

UNC shot 88 percent in the paint during the first half, but after 20 minutes of play led Radford by only five.

But when the Tar Heels came back in the second half, it was all business.

“I thought we settled down a little bit and played better in the second half,” Hatchell said. “We’re still young, we’re trying a lot of things, and I’m still experimenting with people.”

UNC held Radford to 19 second-half points, eight of which came from the charity stripe. DeGraffenreid scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the second half, helping the Tar Heels jump to a 27-point lead with 28 seconds on the clock.

Freshman Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and sophomore Chay Shegog led the team in rebounds, grabbing six each.

“The best thing is that out of 30 baskets, we had 22 assists,” Hatchell said. “I really like that, its good team basketball.”

UNC went into the game ranked No. 11 in the AP poll after falling seven spots after Michigan State handed the Tar Heels their first loss of the season. But the fall was news to Hatchell.

“Wow, that’s a lot. That may be the largest drop for one game,” she said. “That just means we got to climb more I guess.” 

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