The North Carolina women’s basketball team (4-0) traveled to Fort Worth and defeated TCU (1-2), 79-46, to maintain its unbeaten start to the season.
The Tar Heels jumped out to an immediate 3-0 lead off a Carlie Littlefield shot in the first minute of play. The game would go scoreless for the next two minutes of play, but soon, the Tar Heels continued building on their lead throughout the first quarter, which would end 17-8 in UNC’s favor.
TCU fought back in the second quarter to outscore the Tar Heels, 14-12, as both sides combined to shoot 10-32 from the field.
The Tar Heels regained momentum in the third quarter as their shooting percentage jumped to 47 percent from the 25 percent clip from the second quarter, which resulted in the Tar Heels outscoring the Horned Frogs, 23-18.
The game remained in reach for the Horned Frogs at 52-40 going into the fourth quarter before Tar Heels put their foot on the pedal to put the game out of reach, UNC held a 27-6 advantage in the final period, as the final score reflected a far more lopsided affair than what the game had been for three quarters.
Who stood out?
Sophomore guard Deja Kelly scored 25 points on 9-21 shooting that and 3-8 from the three point line. She also secured seven rebounds.
Fellow sophomore guard Alyssa Ustby dominated the interior with 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. She also performed well on the defensive end, recording five steals and a block in 38 minutes of play.
Graduate transfer guard Carlie Littlefield provided key scoring whenever the team needed it and ended the game with 14 points and four rebounds. Redshirt junior guard Eva Hodgson recorded 11 points that included 3-7 shooting from three.
When was it decided?
Following the second quarter where they went 4-16 from the field, the Tar Heels came out of the half shooting at a much higher rate.
They shot a total 48 percent in the second half which allowed them to pull away from the Horned Frogs.
The Tar Heels also began forcing more fouls than they had before. In the first half, UNC only shot six free throws compared to 17 in the second half. This advantage — combined with a drop-off in shooting percentage by TCU — allowed the Tar Heels to pull away.
Why does it matter?
With the Tar Heels still unranked, it is important that they continue to win games in their bid for a tournament appearance.
Their strong start to the season gives them a good chance of entering the top 25 and wins like this will be crucial in helping the team become comfortable before conference play.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will play on Friday, when they take on Virginia Commonwealth University in the Bahamas for the Goombay Splash Invitational.
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