On Tuesday, the North Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Rice University, 71-50, to extend its winning streak to three games.
North Carolina (8-4) was able to put on an incredible defensive effort in the first half against Rice (7-3), giving up just 16 points in the entire half in the first game of the Carolinas Challenge. The Tar Heels also outscored their opponent in every single quarter, displayed some great ball movement to get scoring opportunities and shot 38 percent from beyond the arc to create a well-balanced effort on both ends of the floor.
UNC was able to dominate Rice in almost every aspect of the box score. The team outshot its opponent by almost 15 percent, outrebounded it by three, had fewer turnovers and over double the number of assists.
Who stood out?
Sophomore center Janelle Bailey and junior guards Taylor Koenen and Shayla Bennett were the driving forces behind North Carolina’s performance.
Bailey led all players in scoring with 19 points while contributing 12 rebounds in route to a double-double. She was also able to prove her range by shooting 50 percent from 3-point range. This was her seventh double-double in 12 games.
Koenen may not have reached double-digit scoring, but the 6-foot-2 guard was able to grab 12 boards, tying her teammate Bailey and Rice’s Erica Ogwumike for the most in the game.
Bennett joined Bailey in reaching a double-double, however she was able to reach hers by moving the ball around effectively, picking up 10 of North Carolina’s 15 assists.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels entered the second quarter with a 16-10 lead and refused to let their foot off the gas for the rest of the half. Rice was only able to score six points in the second quarter on 25 percent shooting for the first half.
By halftime, Nicole Iademarco was the only player for Rice that had made two or more field goals. UNC had five players with as many made field goals.
When the second quarter ended, it was clear that North Carolina had no intention of letting this game slip through its fingers and held onto a 33-16 lead.
Why does it matter?
The night before the game, UNC was ranked 36th in the NCAA Division 1 RPI rankings. With wins over a then 7-2 Rice squad and a matchup against Auburn (9-1) in the coming days, the Tar Heels have the opportunity to make some serious noise and possibly shake up the AP Top 25 poll in the near future.
When do they play next?
On Thursday, the Tar Heels take on Auburn at 6:30 p.m. in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
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