The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday August 5th

First-years Walker, Watts lead UNC women's basketball to first victory of season

Fr. Stephanie Watts (5) battles an opponent for the ball. The women's basketball team beat Florida A&M 94-58 Tuesday night, Nov. 17.
Buy Photos Fr. Stephanie Watts (5) battles an opponent for the ball. The women's basketball team beat Florida A&M 94-58 Tuesday night, Nov. 17.

And in the North Carolina women’s basketball team’s 94-58 victory against Florida A&M (1-2) on Tuesday night, they showed why.

Walker scored just six seconds into the game for UNC (1-2), and neither she nor her teammate ever slowed down. The two dominated from beginning to end, combining for 59 of the team’s 94 points.

“I know these guys were getting ready to break loose. You saw tonight why they were both McDonald’s All-Americans,” Coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

Walker started the game strong, scoring 11 of her 32 points in just the first quarter. She continued to score with ease throughout the first half, finishing with 20.

Watts was no slouch when it came to scoring the basketball either. She tallied an impressive 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 16 points in the first half.

The duo gave the Tar Heels a big boost shooting the basketball. Watts led the team from behind the 3-point line with five 3-pointers, while Walker added two. This could be a good sign for a North Carolina team which is lacking depth, especially shooting the ball.

“Even missing a couple shots in the beginning, our coaches still just gave confidence,” Watts said.

Free throws have been a strength of Walker’s this season, as she has yet to miss from the charity stripe. She was 10-of-10 on Tuesday night, making her 16-of-16 in three games this season. Watts was also perfect from the line on her four shots.

“The best thing this team does is shoot foul shots,” Hatchell said. “Already, I’m saying this is going to be one of the best foul shooting teams. (Walker and Watts) shoot them good.”

Scoring was not all Walker and Watts brought to the Tar Heels, however. Together, they seemed to control every aspect of the game. Walker finished with her first career double-double, leading the team in rebounds with 10. Watts was integral to North Carolina’s distribution of the ball, finishing second on the team with five assists.

Coming into the game, Walker averaged a staggering 39 minutes per game, which led the ACC. Watts was tied for fifth in the ACC, averaging 36 minutes per game. Tuesday was another heavy load for the pair, as each finished with team highs of 34 minutes.

The young guards are two players Hatchell and the rest of the team have looked to so far this season. And with the Tar Heels having limited options scoring the ball, the first-years proved on Tuesday they can help carry the team in that regard.

“I think from the first two games, we were a little underestimated,” Walker said. “I think we can be good now.”

@YonaDagalosi

sports@dailytarheel.com



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