The 10th-ranked University of North Carolina women hoopsters rolled into Chestnut Hill Thursday night looking for a big win over the unranked Boston College Eagles. They got the win—92-68—but not without a fight.
The lady Tar Heels came out looking like a high school team, shooting one-for-seven and committing four turnovers in the first five minutes.
The lady Eagles on the other hand could do no wrong, going up 13-6 on the strength of a 9-0 run, largely fueled by Stefanie Murphy’s outside shooting and the defense of Mickel Picco.
Sylvia Hatchell went to her bench for help, but the Tar Heels quickly found themselves down 18-6. The many Carolina fans at Conte Forum were scratching their heads and wondering why these imposters were wearing UNC uniforms.
With 12:58 left in the half, Rashanda McCants drained a jumper to spark a 20-5 run to put the Tar Heels up 26-23 with 5:20 left in the half.
The Eagles were not about to be run out of their own gym just yet. They put some points on the board to take a 34-31 lead, but the Tar Heels had their own idea about ending the half.
They went on an 11-0 run to go up 42-34, thanks to some tenacious defense and strong rebounding.
BC’s Jaclyn Thoman sank a three-pointer at the buzzer, sending the teams to their locker room with Carolina up by five.
The Tar Heels came out hot to start the second half, going up by 14 within the first five minutes. Defense, rebounding, and shot selection were key as the Tar Heels went up by 26 at one point.
The Eagles never gave up, but the Tar Heels never looked back.
In the end, the Eagles were just overmatched. They were out rebounded 41-34. The Carolina bench outscored theirs 28-14. Tar Heel Jessica Breland’s four blocked shots were three more than the entire BC team achieved.
McCants finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for North Carolina. Fellow Tar Heel Cetera DeGraffenreid scored 18 points and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.
Murphy scored 19 for the Eagles. Carolyn Swords, who started the game with an NCAA-leading 68 shooting percentage, finished two-for-five thanks to a good defensive job by the Tar Heels.
This was a sloppy game, with both teams combining for 49 turnovers. BC shot 38.8% from the field and 61.1% from the line.
UNC’s Iman McFarland left the game early with a concussion.
The game marked the first time Hatchell coached against one of her former players. It was not just any former player either. This was Sylvia Crawley, a member of Hatchell’s 1994 championship team.
Before the opening tip, a moment of silence was observed in memory of former N.C. State coach Kay Yow, who died last month after a long battle with breast cancer. No matter the outcome, this game was definitely played in the Pink Zone.
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