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The Daily Tar Heel

Preview: How UNC women's basketball can avenge its loss to Duke earlier this year

UNC junior center Janelle Bailey (30) moves to pass the ball. The Tar Heels lost against Duke 61-71 in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.

The North Carolina women's basketball team will renew its rivalry with Duke on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena. 

The Tar Heels, on a six-game losing streak, will look to avoid being swept by the Blue Devils in their final home game of the season. Here are three keys to a North Carolina victory on Sunday.

Shot selection

UNC shot a season-low 27.1 percent from the floor in a loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium earlier this season. The low shooting percentage can be attributed to a third-quarter slump for the Tar Heels, where they made only three of 24 shots from the floor.

If North Carolina wants to avenge that loss, it will need to get the ball in the basket, and that starts with shot selection and getting the ball inside. In the team's first matchup against Duke, only 20 of 61 points came from inside.

Center Janelle Bailey shot 2-11 from the field against the Blue Devils, and ended up with only nine points. North Carolina will need a better performance from Bailey if it wants to generate offense down low.

Increasing action in the paint will, in turn, create outside options for the Tar Heels on the perimeter. Ball movement and quality shot selection will be key to upping the field goal percentage that sunk UNC in the first rivalry matchup.

Bennett & Koenen 

Taylor Koenen has been a key contributor for the Tar Heels all year, while Shayla Bennett carried the team in the last Duke-UNC matchup. The team will look to both seniors to provide huge contributions during Senior Day on Sunday.

Bennett recorded a team-high 19 points last game to keep the Tar Heels within striking distance, and has orchestrated the majority of North Carolina's offense this season with a 2.04 assist to turnover ratio, best in the ACC. The guard will have to come out strong and continue to facilitate for the Tar Heels to create high percentage attempts on offense.

Koenen has been key to the Tar Heels' offense this season, starting every game and averaging 14.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Despite her impressive season, Koenen came out flat against the Blue Devils, making only three of 13 field goal attempts on the night.

Both seniors will look to make an impression to earn a win in their last regular season matchup against the Blue Devils.

Dominate the boards

The one highlight for the Tar Heels in Cameron was their 23 second-chance points. Their execution on the boards was also seen on the other side of the floor, where they limited the Blue Devils to only three second-chance points of their own.

Malu Tshitenge ranks 14th in the country in offensive rebounds per game with 4.1. She'll have to continue to dominate the offensive glass for the Tar Heels to give them the second-chance opportunities they need to put points on the board.


@DTHSports |

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