The North Carolina women’s basketball team manhandled the Alabama A&M Bulldogs, 80-35, at Carmichael Arena on Thursday night.
The Tar Heels (2-0) displayed their dominance from the beginning by displaying superior ball-handling skills and consistently making more shots than their opponent. The Bulldogs (0-3) were plagued by mistakes and turnovers throughout the game, and were rarely able to capitalize on opportunities to shrink North Carolina’s lead. Alabama A&M first-year guard Jameica Cobb scored all of the team’s 14 points in the first half, while seven different Tar Heels scored the team’s 36 first-half points.
Fortunes did not change for the Bulldogs in the second half, as the Tar Heels were able to stretch their lead out to 40 points by the end of the third period. The large advantage allowed Coach Sylvia Hatchell to rest her starters and enabled the Tar Heels to cruise to a 45-point win.
Who stood out?
Stephanie Watts led the way for the Tar Heels by scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Watts made 10 out of the 19 field goals she attempted and made six out of the 11 three-pointers she attempted. Her total was only two points off her career high of 30 points she obtained against N.C. State on February 21. The rest of the points were evenly distributed among the team, as nine Tar Heel players recorded points, with redshirt sophomore Paris Kea and Junior Jamie Cherry scoring in double figures.
Cobb was the lone bright spot for the Bulldogs on the evening, as she finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Cobb played a total of 36 minutes on the court despite the team’s struggles, and it wasn’t until halfway through the third period until another Bulldog put points on the board. The rest of her team combined for 10 points.
When was it decided?
Alabama A&M’s early mishaps did not factor in early in the game, and they were initially able to keep the lead under single digits. However, the turnovers eventually added up for the Bulldogs to the point where the lead for the Tar Heels was over 20 points by the end of the first half. Cobb’s teammates were able to put points on the board in the third period, but the hole for the Bulldogs was too insurmountable to overcome.
Why does it matter?
Alabama A&M is only the second game of the season for the Tar Heels, but the win provided a much-needed confidence boost for the team. The Tar Heels opened the 2015-16 with two consecutive losses against Gardner-Webb and Oregon, and ultimately finished the season with a 14-18 record, missing the NCAA Tournament. Coach Sylvia Hatchell said the added experience of her sophomores and the amount of depth on her team have contributed to the turnaround, and she hopes to build a foundation with her players, as most of them will be around for the next three years.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will look to continue their early season momentum when they face Bucknell at home on Nov. 20. The game will start at 6 p.m.
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