Returning to Carmichael Arena after a three-game road swing seemed to be the thing to shake North Carolina out of its string of first-half offensive slumps.
UNC lost no time making itself at home in the 77-46 pounding of Boston College.
In the previous contests on the road, the Tar Heels found themselves lacking offensive consistency early in the first halves.
But this time, UNC was relentless on the offensive pedal, leading 12-0 at the first media break. After that, there was no turning back.
“We’ve done a few things to try and pick up our intensity early in the game,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “They’re learning to play together a little bit more. We’ve changed a few things in warm-ups so hopefully they’re ready to play when the game starts.”
The Tar Heels shot 44.1 percent from the field, spurred on by Chay Shegog’s 16 points. Her contribution bumped her total points at UNC to 1,158, tying her with former player and current Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley at 29th for career points.
The Tar Heels settled into their offensive rhythm early, shooting nearly 50 percent in the first half, and they stayed on pace for the duration of the game. With the exception of Latifah Coleman and Megan Buckland, both out with season-ending ACL injuries, all UNC players scored.
Once it was apparent that UNC would leave Carmichael with a victory, Hatchell rotated her younger players into the lineup. Freshman Whitney Adams set a new career high of 7 points and 6 rebounds, all coming in the second half.
“I did have to take them out,” Hatchell said. “They let them get within 20, and I said, if you let them get within 20, you’re coming out.
“But sometimes it’s because they get fatigued or tired or whatever, but it was good for them to get back in there.”
The Tar Heels aggressively attacked the glass and finished with a 53-36 rebounding edge. With this game, UNC has now outrebounded 15 of 20 opponents.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who Hatchell calls her “secretary of defense,” led the rebounding charge, collecting 12 boards. Her defensive effort did not stop there, as the guard added a career-high five blocks.
“Tierra definitely contributes a lot on defense,” Shegog said. “Her intensity on defense spreads to everybody else on the team. Obviously she’s our defensive master. She really pushes everybody to do better on defense.”
With this win in the books, Hatchell is already looking forward to strategies later in the season.
“My goal is to be able to play Waltiea (Rolle) and Chay together,” Hatchell said. “If we can start playing those two together a little bit, that can really throw a wrinkle in some things.”
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