The No. 25 North Carolina women’s basketball team faced two one-win teams in its weekend doubleheader. Though UNC handily defeated La Salle, 85-55, and UNC-Asheville, 101-42, the two games couldn’t have been more different.
Both games were won in very different fashions, but senior Waltiea Rolle was a constant for the Tar Heels.
Rolle led North Carolina in scoring on Saturday with 15 points and 12 rebounds and on Sunday with 19 points and nine boards.
After missing time last season after giving birth to her first child, Rolle has been returning to the dominant post player coach Sylvia Hatchell recruited.
“Waltiea was eight for ten, excellent shooting and nine rebounds,” Hatchell said.
Rolle was especially dominant against UNC-A. She is two inches taller than the Bulldogs’ tallest player, Abra Sickles — who left the game in the second half after collapsing on the floor due to a pre-existing condition.
Rolle has steadily improved early in the season, averaging 12.8 points per game, which is more than three times her average from last season.
The 6-foot-6 center also solidified her position in the paint, blocking 16 shots in six games, including two against La Salle and two more against UNC- Asheville.
But while Rolle’s performances were consistent in the holiday weekend games, the rest of the team struggled to find that same rhythm.
UNC jumped out to a hot start against UNC-A, never trailing, but against La Salle Saturday, UNC fell behind by one point at halftime.
“Coach Hatchell came in at halftime and pretty much just ate our faces off,” Rolle said. “She wasn’t really happy.”
We just had to come out stronger, and we did.”
In UNC’s first game of the weekend, the Tar Heels couldn’t put away a pesky La Salle offense.
UNC allowed La Salle to knock down 35.9 percent from the field in the first half before clamping down and holding the team to a 23.3 field goal percentage in the second half.
UNC also outscored La Salle 54-23 in the second half to put the game away.
But in Sunday’s 59-point win against UNC-Asheville, the Tar Heels shut the door on the Bulldogs in the first half, out-scoring them 51-29 by halftime — a lead commanding enough to give Tar Heel reserves significant playing time.
“Nobody played more than 23 minutes today and about 25 yesterday,” Hatchell said. “It was good to let a lot of the other ones get to play.”
Though UNC is undefeated through the first six games, the team will have to match Rolle’s consistency if it wants to continue winning games deeper into the schedule.
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