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UNC women's basketball downs Clemson, 86-72, behind Koenen and Bailey

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UNC junior center Janelle Bailey (30) dribbles past Clemson University senior guard Chyna Cotton (32). The Tar Heels beat the Tigers 86-72 on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 in Carmichael Arena.

The North Carolina women’s basketball team (16-6, 7-4 ACC) topped Clemson (7-15, 3-8 ACC) in dominant fashion on Sunday, 86-72, led in large part by offensive contributions from senior guard Taylor Koenen and junior forward Janelle Bailey. 

What happened?

North Carolina came out of the gates hot, taking a 15-4 lead into the first media timeout with four starters working their way into the scoring column in the first five minutes of play. 

The Tar Heels dominance would continue for the remainder of the opening period, spreading their lead out to 27-10 off of 54 percent shooting from the field led in large part by junior forward Janelle Bailey and senior guard Koenen. 

North Carolina came out of the break continuing to function at a high level on both ends of the court, holding Clemson to 11-32 shooting from the field while maintaining a 20-37 spread of their own.

Even scoring distribution was a trend for UNC in the first half and throughout the game, with six of eight Tar Heels who played in the first half finding their way into the scoring column on their way to a 47-27 halftime lead. 

North Carolina came out of the locker room with the same intensity it had displayed in the first half, maintaining a 20 point lead through the mid way point of the third quarter. Redshirt senior guard Madinah Muhammad was an impressive force during this initial run, scoring five points in the early going for the Tar Heels.  

As the third quarter went on, North Carolina would maintain a tight grip on the game, going into the break up 65-46 despite slowing down to 36 percent shooting from the field. 

Clemson came into the final quarter fighting for a comeback. Exchanging offensive blows with UNC offensively, the Tar Heels never took their foot off the gas pedal on the way to a  point quarter that saw North Carolina push through to an 86-72 victory. 

Who stood out?

Koenen was a dominant force throughout the game. Maintaining herself as a consistent scoring presence throughout both halves, the senior set a career high in scoring with 26 points and contributed a well-rounded stat line with seven rebounds and six assists. 

When was it decided?

In a game that never felt particularly close, North Carolina fighting off Clemson’s toe-to-toe scoring in the third and fourth quarter was the deciding factor. After earning a 20-point halftime lead, UNC maintained success into the second half and earned a dominant victory.  

Why does it matter?

After fighting through a tough stretch of ACC play that saw North Carolina face top-25 opponents four times since the start of January, the Tar Heels find themselves in fourth place in the conference heading into the final seven games of the regular season. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will travel to Durham next Thursday, Feb. 6, to face Duke for the first time this season in a 6 p.m. matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

@zachycrain

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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