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The Daily Tar Heel

Forwards step up without Breland

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Chay Shegog managed 10 points on just 3-for-12 shooting, but pulled
down seven boards for the Tar Heels.

Forward Jessica Breland has been the North Carolina women’s basketball team’s best forward this year. She is second on the team in both points and rebounds.

So when she went down with what is being called a minor left knee injury after just 10 minutes into Thursday’s game against Wake Forest, the Tar Heels needed their other big players to step up.

Luckily for the Tar Heels, they have the depth up front to succeed even without their top forward. Chay Shegog, Waltiea Rolle and most of all Laura Broomfield picked up the slack to lead UNC to a 71-56 win against the Demon Deacons.

Broomfield led the in the frontcourt by recording her second double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

“Laura had a ton of rebounds,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “She’s getting up there around the rim and that’s really good. We’re going to need her down the stretch here.”

Also helping out, especially on the defensive end, was Rolle. She put her 6-foot-6 frame to use, producing six blocks with her long arms to go along with seven points and eight rebounds.

Shegog had a poor night shooting but still managed to add 10 points and a team-high five assists. The trio effectively gave North Carolina enough front-line scoring to support star guard Italee Lucas, who had 20 points, and helped lead the Tar Heels to victory.

“Tonight both Chay and Waltiea were missing shots that normally they would make,” Hatchell said. “But we’re going to continue to do that because the more we go inside, the more it opens it up outside for Italee.”

Breland is scheduled to get an MRI on her knee, but regardless of how long she is out, the improving play of the other forwards will give the Tar Heels the frontline depth it needs to compete in future games.

After Thursday’s game, Broomfield now leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game, and her play is improving with each passing game.

“Like today, you never know when it’s going to be your turn to step your game up,” Broomfield said. “I like our depth but I still try to bring intensity every game, regardless of the situation.”

Lucas, for one, is impressed with Broomfield’s ability.

“Some of the rebounds, it’s like, ‘Man she’s cleaning glass, call her Windex,’” Lucas said. “She’s just amazing, and once that confidence is there, she’s going to go beyond her potential.”

It wasn’t all peaches and cream for the Tar Heels and their forwards, though. Wake Forest had 28 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded North Carolina 53-51.

With or without Breland, the team will have to do much better on the glass against a big, physical Maryland team on Sunday. Hatchell was particularly mad about her team letting Wake Forest control the boards.

“Way too many offensive rebounds,” she said.

“We’ll be running for that tomorrow, though, so it’s okay.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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