“Chay again had a good game,” Hatchell said. “She helped us make some big baskets when we needed to.”
The sophomore’s offense also compensated for a void left by the team’s two leading scorers, guards Italee Lucas and Cetera DeGraffenreid.
Both were held scoreless in the first half before recovering in the second half, with Lucas breaking out with 12 points.
“The team does need me and (DeGraffenreid) to step up on offense,” Lucas said. “I have to help more than on defense. That’s the bottom line.”
DeGraffenreid did not start in Sunday’s game, the first time she hasn’t since North Carolina played Winston-Salem State on Jan. 2.
“I’m just trying to find the right ones that can get the job done,” Hatchell said. “We might get other starters.”
Youth and inexperience have resulted in nine different starting lineups early in the season, Hatchell said.
For some time, it looked as if Shegog’s 17 points, which tied a career-high, would not be enough.
With 2:23 remaining in the first half, Maryland’s Lori Bjork drained a 3-pointer to give her team a one-point lead.
And led by the hot hand of Bjork, who finished with 18 points, Maryland rallied to a 33-33 tie heading into halftime.
At that juncture, Hatchell approached her veterans.
“I really challenged Italee and Cetera to carry the team,” she said. “They’re juniors, but they’ve got to be the leaders of our team.”
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With 7:49 remaining in the game, the Terrapins had just scored 10 unanswered points. And Degraffenreid and Lucas answered their coach’s call.
With UNC clinging to a two-point lead, DeGraffenreid went coast-to-coast for an open layup. On the next possession, Lucas dove for a loose ball, passing it to DeGraffenreid for another layup.
Bolstered by a revitalized backcourt, UNC continued to extend its lead.
With 2:10 remaining, Degraffenreid passed the ball to Lucas on the right wing, who drained a three and secured an eight-point lead.
But the end of the game looked much as it had started, with Shegog scoring the game’s final four points.
“It’s great that we won this game,” Hatchell said. “We needed to get back on the winning track.”
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