The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's basketball handles Western Carolina in season opener, 92-55


Senior guard Shayla Bennett (22) goes up for the ball in the game against Western Carolina in the Carmichael Arena on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. UNC won 92-55.

The North Carolina women’s basketball team (1-0) breezed past Western Carolina (1-1) with a 92-55 victory Thursday night in its season debut featuring new head coach Courtney Banghart and five new players.

What happened? 

Both the Tar Heels and Catamounts got off to a slow start, each missing shot after shot up until the third minute when Western Carolina sank a layup in the paint. 

UNC didn’t score its first basket until redshirt senior Madinah Muhammad lofted a three-pointer in front of the Western Carolina bench. The Catamounts answered with a basket of their own, pushing themselves into the lead again. Headed into a media timeout with five minutes to go in the first period, Western Carolina led UNC 4-3. 

That time out seemed to be what both teams needed as both teams heated up. By the end of the first period, UNC led WCU 18-16.  

Senior Taylor Koenen got hot to open up the second period, scoring seven points in the span of two minutes. After her layup gave UNC a 25-16 lead, the Tar Heels went on an 8-0 run before the Catamounts sank a three-pointer. 

UNC came alive in the second period, scoring 25 points. Koenen led the team with 15 points at the half, while Janelle Bailey led in rebounds with six. 

The Tar Heels opened up the second half with another 8-0 run, and the entered the fourth quarter with a 61-37 lead.

North Carolina kept up the momentum throughout the fourth quarter with four players finishing in double digits and Bailey finishing with a double-double. 

Who stood out?

Overall, North Carolina had a breakout debut. Three players were in double digits by the time they were halfway through the fourth quarter. 

Going into halftime, Koenen was 6-8 from the field and 3-3 on three-pointers with four defensive rebounds — the most on the team from the first half. By the end of the night, the senior had 17 points and nine rebounds. 

Bailey had a standout night, accumulating over 21 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, but she also stood out on Thursday night in a different way. 

She sported a No. 30 jersey instead of her usual No. 44. After her teammate and close friend Jaelynn Murray tore her ACL in the Tar Heels' exhibition match, Bailey wanted to honor her by keeping Murray’s number on the court, even though the injured player would be out the rest of the season.  

When was it decided?

The second quarter ultimately sealed the Tar Heel victory. UNC scored 25 points in that period, pushing its lead to 51-29. The Catamounts weren't able to keep up with UNC.

Why does it matter?

New season, new team, new coaches. 

After a 82-37 exhibition win over Wingate, the Tar Heels kicked off a new era of UNC women’s basketball with Thursday's blowout win. After the exit of Sylvia Hatchell, this was the first time since 1986 that the team has had a new head coach. 

Where do they play next? 

UNC will be back in action on Monday at 7 p.m. when it will face Navy. 

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


@DTHSports |