Every Tar Heel scores as part of all-around effort and output
By Peter Koutroumpis
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The North Carolina Tar Heels started quickly, cooled a little, but held steady in posting an overpowering 91-56 win over Presbyterian College on Tuesday.
Led by four scorers with double-digit finishes, the Tar Heels held off a struggling, but cagey Blue Hose squad in front of 2,304 in attendance at Carmichael Arena.
Paris Kea (23 points), Jamie Cherry (17 points), Janelle Bailey (11 points), and Jaelynn Murray (10 points) led all 10 UNC players who earned minutes and recorded points in the game.
Shooting at 56 percent from the field, including 48 percent beyond the arc and 81 percent from the free throw line, UNC claimed its fifth win in a row, playing four of them in the last week.
Cortney Storey and Janie Miles led Presbyterian’s offense with 20 and 14 points, respectively.
While sitting at 7-2 on the season to date, and getting comfortable playing at home as a young team matures, head coach Sylvia Hatchell was quick to point out that it was not a perfectly executed game, her 997th all-time win.
“We’ve had a lot of games – four games in seven days – something like that,” she said.
“We were ragged at times out there. Too many turnovers, but we hadn’t had any practices because we’ve just been playing games, and doing film work, and resting the legs in between, every other day havin’ a game. But, we did some good things and gettin’ better.”
The Blue Hose (1-7), coached by former UNC volunteer assistant Todd Streelman and former Tar Heels three-point specialist Megan Buckley, showed energy and poise early on in dropping shots from the perimeter.
Working the ball in and out, and then reading the Presbyterian defense that eventually wore down during the first half, allowed Bailey and Murray to go to work in helping to put up 36 points in the paint.
Utility guard/forward Taylor Koenen supported that effort with seven points, 10 rebounds, and five assists to go along with a team-high three steals.
Bailey, selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Week twice this season so far, was a target of the Blue hose defense.
“Janelle’s a force in there,” Hatchell said.
“She draws a lot of attention around the basket.”
“We try to work our game from inside out,” Murray added.
“We always look inside first because we have a post presence, and then we look outside when the inside collapses and vice versa.”
That ball movement resulted in opening Kea up for a career-high five 3’s along with dishing out seven assists, mostly to Bailey and Murray down low.
“They played us in a zone and the back of the zone was open, so when I drove in or penetrate to the paint, Janelle, Murray, or whomever’s in the back were left alone,” Kea stated.
North Carolina led 47-26 utilizing effective inside and out offensive production at a 53-percent success rate.
Kea led the offense with 14 points followed by 11 from Bailey, and matching seven’s from Koenen and Cherry.
Trying to keep pace, Presbyterian’s shooting woes kept it at 33 percent with the only successful shooting coming from the outside via Storey (8 points), Kacie Hall (6 points), and Miles (4 points).
A big second quarter created the distance that UNC needed to coast to the win.
Outscoring the Blue Hose 26-11, the Tar Heels’ 13-0 run in a two-minute span with under five minutes to go in the period was the dagger Presbyterian had plunged into any hope of staying close.
Tar Heels got out to a quick 7-3 start during the opening two minutes with baskets from Koenen, Kea, and Bailey.
Effective perimeter shooting by the Blue Hose soon had both sides tied 9-9 as Hall and Miles answered back.
Play continued at a quick, steady pace from basket to basket as both sides continued to trade shots.
A quick 6-0 run put UNC ahead 17-13 with two minutes remaining.
Presbyterian’s shooting came up empty, and coupled with turnovers, allowed the Tar Heels to pull further ahead to lead 21-15.
Bailey led UNC’s well-rounded offensive output with six, while Taylor and Murray posted four apiece.
Hall and Miles had six and four, respectively for the Blue Hose as they were dominated in the paint by a 12-2 margin.
Scoring ground to a halt during the first four minutes of play as only a jumper from Cherry counted towards UNC’s 23-15 lead with 6:34 remaining.
Presbyterian tightened its coverage in the paint which caused the Tar Heels to rush easy layups.
However, after making adjustments, North Carolina began to drop feeds to the post and led 29-21 at the 4:25 mark.
Bailey and Kea coupled up from the field and free throw line to fuel a UNC 7-0 run.
Cherry’s three from the left corner and an and-1 from Koenen pushed the Tar Heels ahead by 21, leading 42-21 with two minutes remaining.
With the Blue Hose defense sagging deep into the paint, North Carolina dropped shots beyond the arc and from the elbows as Kea’s five points increased the Tar Heels’ margin to 21, leading 47-26.
Another sluggish start for the first five minutes of the period as the Blue Hose out scored UNC 7-3.
However, holding a 17-point advantage allowed the Tar Heels to take its time to regroup.
Kea’s 3-pointer had UNC ahead by 21 again, leading 55-34 with 4:30 to go.
Despite Presbyterian outhustling them, the Tar Heels continued to chip away at the basket, despite missed shots, offensive fouls, and turnovers.
A dish to Murray for a layup followed by quick passing to Cherry for a three on the next possession put North Carolina ahead 67-41.
Presbyterian ran and ran, scored some, but couldn’t gain any more ground on the Tar Heels who continued to sub in players who produced more points in the paint and from the perimeter.
Though baskets came every few minutes, they were being ones.
Led by back-to-back 3s from Cherry, UNC’s advantage ballooned to 30 points, 77-47, with 4:56 remaining.
Hometown product Liz Roberts even got on the sheet with a three at the 2:24 mark that pushed UNC further ahead, 86-52.
Finishing the game with three sophomores (Van Nes, Smith, Roberts) a redshirt freshman (Jones), and a freshman (Church), the Tar Heels finalized the win at 91-56.
The bottom line
“When we pass the ball around, they find each other, they break the defense down,” Hatchell said.
“We’re runnin’ some really good stuff. At times they look really, really good out there with their ball reversals and everything. And that will continue to get better and better.
“It’s nice to have the players to put in the game, it really is, because we haven’t been in that situation. And they’re still learning. It’s nice to have some athletic players and kids that we can put in there and give Paris and Jamie a little bit of rest which helps.”
Peter Koutroumpis, 401-323-8960, @pksport