GREENSBORO– A day after helping the North Carolina women’s basketball team as an extra coach during its game against Georgia Tech, Janelle Bailey returned to the court on Friday and this time contributed in ways that show up in the box score.
Following a one-game suspension for getting ejected in a 62-44 loss to Duke on Sunday, Bailey posted a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) in No. 8 seed UNC’s 95-77 loss to No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
UNC (18-14, 8-8 ACC) trailed the Fighting Irish (28-3, 14-2 ACC) by double digits for the final 18-plus minutes and struggled to find any answers defensively in its bid for a second upset victory over Notre Dame this season.
But the sophomore center’s good showing in her first game back following the suspension was a bright spot for UNC on what was a good day offensively for the Tar Heels, who shot 49.2 percent.
“Bailey, (Shayla Bennett) and Paris (Kea) all had really good shooting,” UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “We shot right at 50 percent. That’s pretty good against Notre Dame.”
With the Tar Heels expected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in four years, Bailey showed how dangerous the UNC offense can be moving forward when she’s on her game.
“I think I made a statement,” said Bailey, who’s second in scoring on UNC with 16.7 points per game.
A physical, 6-foot-4 post player who does most of her damage with her back to the basket in the paint, Bailey showed early on that she has some versatility to her game.
The Charlotte native scored 10 of UNC’s first 22 points, with three of her first four baskets coming on mid-range jump shots that Notre Dame was content to give up.