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The Daily Tar Heel

Post play sends UNC past Terps

Shegog tallies 17 points in ACC win

With her team coming off two consecutive road losses, North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell decided it was time for some changes.

She tried shuffles in the lineup and what her team jokingly called 24 hours of practice.

“When you lose, you have to keep changing things until you find something that works,” Hatchell said.

In a 75-64 win against Maryland (14-4, 2-2 ACC), the team found one thing that did.

Chay Shegog in the post.

When Hatchell called for a set offense, the sophomore forward knew that meant only one thing.

“We wanted to get the ball inside more,” Shegog said. “Score. Draw fouls. Limit the other team. I took it and ran with it.”

Shegog, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, helped the Tar Heels (14-3, 2-1) dominate possession and jump out to an early 18-7 lead in the first half.

During that run, Shegog scored eight of North Carolina’s points.

“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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