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The Daily Tar Heel

Duke drains 3-pointers to top Tar Heels

Photo: Duke drains 3-pointers to top Tar Heels (Brooke Pryor)
UNC versus Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Monday, February 6, 2012.

With one minute left in the first half in the rivalry matchup between No.22 North Carolina and No. 5 Duke, the validity of the age-old basketball adage “live by the three, die by the three,” had been tested and confirmed.

The Blue Devils closed out the first half of their 96-56 win with a 41-14 run, 21 of those points coming from beyond the arc.

“Three-point shooting was unbelievable. They got 30 points from the three and we got six,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

“We did some good things, but when they started popping shots and making threes, we weren’t scoring and we started losing a lot of our energy.”

Though Duke cooled off from 3-pointers after halftime — finishing the game shooting 50 percent from long range — it used the first half 3-point surge to build and maintain an insurmountable lead.

The Blue Devils’ 50 first-half points were the most scored before halftime in their undefeated conference play this season.

“I just kept thinking, they’ve got to miss some shots once in a while, but they hardly missed any,” Hatchell said.

Coming off the bench, Duke guard Tricia Liston led the charge, making four of six 3-point attempts and finishing the game with 23 points, tying her career high.

Guards Chelsea Gray and Shay Selby combined for four more of Duke’s 3-pointers.

“We were just feeding off each other at the right spots, at the right times,” Gray said.

With three and a half minutes remaining in the half, Duke made six baskets, four of which came from 3-point range.

Duke’s triples were the nail on the coffin for the Tar Heels as they couldn’t find an answer to the sharp shooting. Only Brittany Rountree could sink a shot from long range.

“We came out pretty strong and, then those threes, they just didn’t miss in the first half and that kind of just let them take off,” forward Krista Gross said. “Those kind of plays are just huge momentum plays and it really hurt us.”

Not only could the Tar Heels not hit 3-pointers, but in some cases, they had trouble finding the rim.

North Carolina recorded several air balls on shot attempts Monday.

Normally a 3-point specialist, every shot for guard Candace Wood was off the mark. She finished the game scoreless.

Fellow guard She’la White also had an off night, missing all three of her 3-point attempts.

Like Wood, White also did not contribute to the low Tar Heel point total. North Carolina finished a dismal 2-for-14 from beyond the arc.

Gross attributed the poor shooting to shaken confidence.

“I think it’s tough to play defense, solid defense, and they’re hitting crazy shots,” Gross said. “So it does hurt a little bit. I feel like it hurt our confidence a little bit … took the wind out of our sail.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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