On Wednesday, the No. 8 North Carolina women’s basketball team led from nearly wire to wire in a 64-42 win over UNC Wilmington at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels controlled the tip, and junior guard Kennedy Todd-Williams nailed a three from the top of the key in the first possession of the game. Four different Tar Heels scored in the opening four minutes of the game: a layup by junior forward Anya Poole, a three from junior guard Deja Kelly and a turnaround mid-range jumper from junior Alyssa Ustby.
The Seahawks answered the call each time the Tar Heels scored. UNCW crashed the offensive glass early, scoring six of its first nine points in the paint. The Tar Heels headed into the under-5 timeout of the first quarter with a 10-9 advantage.
UNCW’s defensive energy helped keep the game within reach early. However, a from-behind block from sophomore Destiny Adams helped stop a three-point attempt from UNCW that would have tied the game. Todd-Williams netted her second three of the game as time expired in the first quarter. The six-point swing gave the Tar Heels an 18-12 advantage to close the first.
Three minutes into the second quarter, back-to-back lay-ins from Adams and senior Eva Hodgson forced a UNCW timeout and boosted North Carolina’s lead to double-digits for the first time in the contest.
Ustby’s drives proved difficult to defend for the Seahawks in the first half, and her put-back layup with just three seconds left in the half extended the Tar Heel lead to 13 at the break as they led 35-22. Ustby was the first player in the game to reach double-figure scoring.
Capitalizing off of UNCW’s turnovers with quick fast break pushes is what got the Tar Heels rolling toward the end of the first half. The Seahawks committed nine first-half turnovers, which led to 10 fastbreak points for the Tar Heels.
The Tar Heels found success attacking the paint in the third quarter. Kelly and Todd-Williams each joined Ustby in double-figures as North Carolina grew its lead to 21 with six minutes remaining in the third. The Seahawks never waved the white flag though. They narrowed the Tar Heels lead to 16 by the end of the third quarter, 53-37.