UNC beats Wolfpack Women 74-57

The Wolfpack Women, playing UNC in Raleigh for the first time since Coach Yow’s death lost to the Tar Heels 74-57 in a game that was emotional for the players and fans alike. Below is a recap from the Associated Press.

RALEIGH (AP) – Italee Lucas scored 16 points to help No. 9 North Carolina beat North Carolina State 74-57 on Monday night.

Cetera DeGraffenreid and Jessica Breland each added 14 for the Tar Heels (24-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight overall and extended their recent dominance against their nearby rival. North Carolina ran out to an early double-digit lead and never trailed to earn its 17th win in 19 meetings.

The Tar Heels led by as many as 19 in the second half.

Freshman Bonae Holston turned in a second strong performance against the Tar Heels, finishing with 15 points to lead the Wolfpack (12-15, 4-8).

But leading scorer Shayla Fields struggled all night, while the Wolfpack shot just 31 percent from the field and 2-for-15 from 3-point range.

N.C. State had won three straight games, including last weekend’s upset of then-No. 17 Virginia in the annual “Hoops 4 Hope” game inspired by late coach Kay Yow to raise cancer awareness. The Wolfpack was coming off a 65-63 overtime win at Wake Forest in which Nikitta Gartrell hit a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds to play.

But the Tar Heels didn’t give the Wolfpack much chance for an upset, jumping to a 17-5 lead in the first 6½ minutes. Then, after N.C. State answered with a 9-0 spurt, the Tar Heels scored on six straight possessions to push the margin back to double figures.

The half ended with Chay Shegog grabbing a defensive rebound and firing the ball out near midcourt to Lucas, who raced in for the uncontested layup just before the horn that made it 35-23 at the break.

Things didn’t get much better for N.C. State after halftime. The Wolfpack got the lead to single digits only once when Fields was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws, making it 53-44 with 9:08 left.

The Tar Heels answered with a layup and a jumper from Shegog, then a hanging jumper from Lucas in transition. DeGraffenreid followed that by driving into the paint for a layup and a foul, a three-point play that made it 62-44 with 5:31 left.

Last month, N.C. State took the then-unbeaten and second-ranked Tar Heels to overtime before falling 75-66 in a game that gave Sylvia Hatchell her 800th career victory. Holston had 19 points and 15 rebounds in that one.

Fields, who came in averaging about 18 points per game, finished with 13 on 4-for-16 shooting. Sharnise Beal had 11 points, while Gartrell added 10 on 5-for-15 shooting.

Senior Rashanda McCants added 13 points for the Tar Heels, including her 1,500th career point in the first half, while Shegog finished with 12 points and seven boards.

North Carolina has won seven of eight since losing three straight last month, with the last three victories coming by double-digit margins.