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Lynetta Kizer dooms UNC's late game rally

Center dominant in limited minutes

GREENSBORO – Foul trouble kept Maryland’s Lynetta Kizer on the sidelines for most of the Terrapins’ opening round game of the ACC Tournament.

But her 22 minutes on the court were more than enough for Maryland to send North Carolina packing.

Kizer poured in 22 points Thursday afternoon — a point per minute pace — to overwhelm an outmatched UNC defense and send her team to the quarterfinals.

“When she decides to play, she’s an All-American,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “I’ve seen her really, really do some damage when she wants to, and she did that to us today.”

Kizer also wasn’t afraid to mix it up down low, snaring 10 rebounds to go with all those points.

 “She made so many plays,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought they really didn’t have an answer for her with her stepping out, being able to bang down low.”

Kizer was the best player from the opening tip. Before three minutes in the first half elapsed, she had already drilled a three-pointer and scored two more from close range.

But that’s when Hatchell’s game plan put a halt to her hot start. The Tar Heels fed the ball down low on almost every possession, and it didn’t take long for Kizer to rack up two fouls defending the likes of Chay Shegog and Krista Gross.

With Kizer’s minutes limited, a 16-point first-half lead dropped to five late in the opening period.

“We were trying to get it inside, and I thought (Shegog) was pretty aggressive taking the ball in there to them,” Hatchell said.

Kizer wasn’t able to stay on the court very long in the second half, either. She spent the better half of a 10-minute stretch on the bench after recording two more fouls.

UNC took advantage, trimming a 16-point Maryland second-half edge to just four with 5:28 remaining.

At that point, with the score tight at 61-57, Frese couldn’t wait any longer.

She pointed to her 6-foot-4 sophomore center on the bench and put her back in despite her high foul total.

Kizer’s effect on the Maryland offense was instantaneous. With defenders gravitating toward her on every possession, more open looks were available offensively, and the Maryland lead quickly grew to a comfortable margin once again.

Soon after she re-entered the game, Kizer passed out of a double-team to find teammate Jackie Nared wide open at the three-point line to push Maryland’s lead to eight.

And on the next possession, just after UNC missed a jumper, Kizer streaked down the center of the court unguarded, caught a long outlet pass in stride and sank an easy layup to put Maryland up by double digits and essentially seal the game.

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