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UNC women's basketball breezes past Miami, 78-58, behind Janelle Bailey's 28 points

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Junior center Janelle Bailey (30) prepares to shoot the ball against Miami in Carmichael Arena on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The Tar Heels won 78-58 against the Miami Hurricanes.

The North Carolina women’s basketball team topped Miami, 78-58, on Thursday night, led by a dominant performance from junior center Janelle Bailey in front of a home crowd in Carmichael Arena. 

What happened?

Miami (10-7, 2-4 ACC) came out of the gate pressing to open a high-scoring first quarter for the Hurricanes. 

With North Carolina (13-4, 4-2 ACC) struggling to find reliable shooting from outside the paint, post play from Malu Tshitenge and Bailey kept the Tar Heels close in the opening period. Bailey and Tshitenge finished the quarter combining for 11 of UNC's 16 points, with Miami going into the first break up by six.

North Carolina showed a revitalized effort to start the second period, attacking the rim early to draw the game even at 22 points each. With a tie game and an energetic crowd, the Tar Heels continued their success in the paint, allowing Bailey to reach double digits early in the quarter. 

At the halfway mark of the second period, the game had settled into a back-and-forth battle. The Hurricanes answered back-to-back 3-pointers from Tar Heel guards Leah Church and Madinah Muhammad with scores of their own in the midst of five lead changes in the second quarter.  

Despite a 21-point outing from UNC in the second period, the Hurricanes were able to put together a 7-1 run to end the quarter, giving them a 38-37 lead at the half. 

Miami would continue strong, opening with a 6-0 run to start the third quarter before Bailey found the bottom of the net about three minutes in. 

The Tar Heels failed to take advantage of some shooting struggles from the Hurricanes to start the quarter, before flipping the switch and going on an 11-0 run to take the lead. North Carolina found scoring from three different players during the run, taking a 50-48 lead into the final quarter.

UNC continued to impress to start the final frame, sharing the offensive load on the way to a double-digit lead at the midpoint of the fourth quarter. 

For the remainder of the game, North Carolina began to dominate and pull away with the lead. Holding Miami to only 10 total points in the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels came away with a 20-point victory in a game that had been a battle up until the final quarter. 

Who stood out?

Bailey was a dominant force in the paint for North Carolina, impressing when the team played well and finding much-needed points when the Tar Heels struggled to find the bottom of the basket.

Bailey finished with a double-double and posted game highs in points and rebounds with 28 and 15, respectively. 

When was it decided?

Following an 11-0 run toward the end of the third quarter, North Carolina never let the final result be in doubt. After trailing and struggling to find points for stretches to start the game, the Tar Heels flipped the switch in the final 15 minutes and came away with a double-digit victory.

Why does it matter?

Following an impressive upset over No. 9 N.C. State on Thursday, Jan. 9, UNC dropped a game on the road against Florida State on Sunday. Against Miami, North Carolina came back strong and showed that it has the potential to be an elite team in the ACC under the guidance of head coach Courtney Banghart this season. Even when struggling to find points, the Tar Heels never seemed to lose confidence and found a way to win by a large margin.  

When do they play next?

North Carolina will be back in Carmichael Arena on Sunday to face No. 5 Louisville at 1 p.m. for another conference matchup. 

@zachycrain

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@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com