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The Daily Tar Heel

Janelle Bailey impresses in UNC women's basketball's exhibition win over Wingate


Junior center Janelle Bailey (44) shoots a free throw during the exhibiton game against Wingate in the Carmichael Arena on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. UNC won 82-37.

The North Carolina women’s basketball team used a strong defensive performance and a big night from junior center Janelle Bailey to win in the team's only exhibition game against Wingate before the start of the regular season. 

The matchup started off very slowly with both teams playing solid defense — UNC forced eight turnovers, but had four of its own in the first quarter alone. 

The game was close for the first 10 minutes, but the Tar Heel defense began to tighten up. After allowing 13 points in the first quarter, North Carolina dominated and held Wingate to 11 points combined in the second and third.

UNC would go on to hold the Bulldogs to five second quarter points on 2-13 shooting from field and forced another nine Wingate turnovers, outscoring their opponents by 14 points. 

Shots weren't falling for the Tar Heels in the second, but the team's defense allowed them to put the clamps on the Bulldogs, not allowing them to score while North Carolina went on a 13-0 run over the course of six minutes. In a night when shots weren't falling for UNC, the team forced its way to the line 14 times during that run, converting nine. 

The Tar Heels would go on to close out the third quarter on 13-0 run to fully run away with the game, up 61-24. The offense may not have been clicking, but each run was created through the team's tenacious defending.

“We are going to have a generate offense from our defense, without a doubt,” head coach Courtney Banghart said. 

By the end of the game, UNC had forced 31 turnovers, scoring 35 points through the extra opportunities. When not forcing the Bulldogs to cough the ball up, UNC held them to 14-52 shooting on the night.

Redshirt senior guard Madinah Muhammad and first-year guard Kennady Tucker each came away with four steals, while backup forward Emily Sullivan recorded three blocks in only 12 minutes of playing time. The redshirt junior center had two furious rejections in the closing minutes, causing the bench to enthusiastically jump out of their chairs. 

But throughout the game, Bailey, playing at the team's center spot, was the anchor of the defense, tallying three blocks and two steals. The junior also had a very efficient night offensively, shooting 8-14 from the field with 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, four on the offensive glass. 

“If (Bailey) continues to have a stat line like that, the group will grow around her in a good way,” Banghart said. 

As an upperclassman, Bailey will now step into a new role as a leader for the Tar Heels. A preseason All-ACC team selection, Bailey is expected to make big contributions every game. Despite the accolades, the center keeps the focus on her younger teammates. 

“They all come to me with questions,” Bailey said. “I just try and give them the best answer possible and set the example of what a Carolina basketball player is supposed to be like.” 

Despite it being an exhibition game, North Carolina showed improvements on the defensive end. UNC finished second-to-last in the ACC in points allowed in 2018-19, a mark that Banghart hopes to improve if UNC wants to have a chance at postseason success. 

“Each game we have got to get a tiny bit better, and I thought tonight was our first start at that,” Banghart said. 


@DTHSports |

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