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The Daily Tar Heel

Tar Heels overcome a slow start to win at NC State

Womens basketball against NC State

Less than 10 minutes into North Carolina’s game against N.C. State University on Sunday, the Tar Heels must have had flashbacks — frightening flashbacks — of their trip to Connecticut.

The Wolfpack (13-7, 3-4 ACC) started the game on a 9-3 run. Entering the second media timeout, UNC (14-5, 4-2) had nine turnovers, just three field goals, and center Chay Shegog couldn’t sniff at a basket.

Against Connecticut, the Tar Heels turned the ball over 26 times, hit just 13 field goals, and Shegog was held to four points all game in the 86-35 shellacking.

But what the Tar Heels couldn’t get against the Huskies, they got on Sunday.

North Carolina clamped down on defense and scored seven straight points to claim its first lead of the game.

After a similarly slow start in the second half, the Tar Heels went on a 12-3 run in the final 10 minutes to push them to a 60-50 win.

“In the middle of the second half, we just completely lost all energy,” N.C. State coach Kellie Harper said. “Unfortunately, that was due to not scoring.”

UNC held the Wolfpack to 27.8 percent shooting in the game. Shegog recorded five blocks and held N.C. State’s frontcourt duo of Bonae Holston and Kody Burke to 6-of-23 from the field.

Shegog and Laura Broomfield’s defensive efforts pushed the Wolfpack’s offense to the perimeter, forcing N.C. State to attempt 29 3-pointers. The Wolfpack made just eight of them.

“We started playing together defensively as a team,” junior Candace Wood said. “As a team we are talking more, that’s the big key. It’s all about communication on the defensive end, and we did a good job of that today.”

In both of UNC’s runs, Wood cashed in a 3-pointer that swung the momentum toward the Tar Heels. Wood finished with 15 points and three 3-pointers in the game.

“Early on we were trying to go into Chay, and they were not going to let us do that,” North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

“We started spreading it out and making some outside shots and getting a lot more movement going away from Chay. Candace helped out a lot. As you can see, she’s a very good shooter.”

UNC’s turnovers and Wolfpack guard Marissa Kastanek’s 20 points stopped the Tar Heels from breaking out earlier in the game.

But when the Tar Heels started taking care of the ball, it led to better possessions on which they could explore their different scoring options.

“They got some open shots and knocked them down,” Harper said. “We know the scouting report and we know which kids could shoot, and they got open and they knocked them down.”

Sunday’s game marked the second consecutive time North Carolina held its opponent to 50 points or fewer following its 51-point drubbing at the hands of Connecticut. The Tar Heels held Virginia Tech to just 37 points on Thursday.

Hatchell sees that as a result of a new attitude the Tar Heels possess.

“I’m proud of them for coming back and getting two wins in the ACC on the road, because you know how hard it is on the road in the ACC,” Hatchell said. “They’ve toughened up, and that showed today.”

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