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The Daily Tar Heel

WINSTON-SALEM — Before the North Carolina women’s basketball team took the Lawrence Joel Coliseum court Sunday, a three-two-one countdown and a resolute yell of “rebound” emanated from the player’s tunnel.

It was clear what was on the Tar Heels’ minds. But they weren’t alone.

In the opening seconds of Sunday’s 75-71 win, it was Wake Forest that took the rebounding initiative, dominating its home glass early.

In their very first possession, the Demon Deacons collected three offensive rebounds to set up a Secily Ray layup. Then the Demon Deacons used a 8-0 rebound advantage to build a quick 8-0 lead.
By the end of the half, the Demon Deacons not only had the game’s lead at 34-33, but they also led the Tar Heels on the boards, 23-16.

“We didn’t start off very well,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “The rebounding was not good, so we really emphasized that at halftime.”

Hatchell’s words must have sunk in.

In the first half, the Tar Heels held just a slim 5-4 lead in second chance points. But in the second half, the advantage ballooned to 23-8.

That turnaround proved crucial in a game that was decided in the final minute.

“They just won by getting one or two more rebounds,” Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said. “But the biggest problem, frankly, was they had three offensive rebounds in the first half and 13 in the second.

“Their first shots didn’t beat us. Their second shots did.”

Forward Laura Broomfield was one of the main culprits behind the Tar Heels’ rebound resurgence, as the 6-foot-1 senior tallied seven of her eight offensive rebounds in the final 20 minutes.

Altogether, Broomfield pulled down 18 boards, matching a career high, and, with her 20 points, securing a double-double.

“I just tried to have a focused mentality,” Broomfield said about her rebounding. “I haven’t been rebounding too well (in ACC play), so I’m just a little frustrated with that.

“So I knew I wanted to attack the boards really hard today.”

Senior Chay Shegog, too, played a key role at the boards.

With the lead ping-ponging back and forth, Shegog grabbed four rebounds in the final 2:37, keeping the ball out of the Demon Deacons’ hands as time expired and the Tar Heel lead grew.

What was a disadvantage in the first half propelled the Tar Heels in the second. By game’s end, UNC had a 44-38 rebound advantage to go along with its 75-71 victory.

“We got on the boards really good in the second half,” Hatchell said. “Broom was getting a lot of rebounds, and Chay got another double-double.

“I’m just glad we dominated the boards like that, and it made a difference.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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