The UNC women’s basketball team has a bag full of tricks. Simply put, it knows how to win in a variety of ways.
Rely on its defense – ranked fourth in the ACC – to hold its last seven opponents to under 70 points? Sure. Learn how to out-rebound teams to pull off upsets in top-ranked matchups? Check.
And most recently?
On Thursday night, with sophomore guard Indya Nivar contributing the singular bench point, head coach Courtney Banghart turned to her starting five. In the No. 20 Tar Heels’ 66-61 victory over the Hurricanes, each starter reached double figures in scoring.
Spearheaded by senior guard Deja Kelly's 18 points, North Carolina held off a late Miami surge to seal its seventh ACC victory — its best conference record since the 2012-13 season.
“This was a game where we really needed the first five and the bench didn’t give us as much as usual,” Banghart said. “It’s just a true team. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that care."
That care presented itself as soon as the first play of the game.
Twenty seconds in, Deja Kelly dribbled around the arc to the right side. The Hurricanes’ initial zone defense left first-year Reniya Kelly completely open on the wing. Kelly-to-Kelly connection. Swish.
Then, with two minutes left in the first quarter, graduate guard Lexi Donarski — the team’s go-to three-point shooter — left the comfort of the perimeter and drove to the basket for an easy layup.