Triangle Sports Roundup: Heels, Devils, Wolfpack end year on the court

Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network
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Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network
Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network

RALEIGH, N.C. – All three Triangle-area Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) women’s hoops teams were in action as the New Year arrived.

The North Carolina Tar Heels and the 12th-ranked Duke Blue Devils finished their non-conference schedules with wins at home on Thursday, while the N.C. State Wolfpack began league play a day earlier with a road loss to No. 22 Miami.

Watts’ buzzer-beater vaults Tar Heels over Maine

CHAPEL HILL, N.C – Guard Stephanie Watts dropped the final-seconds shot that gave the North Carolina Tar Heels a 59-58 victory over the Maine Black Bears at Carmichael Arena on Thursday.

Watts paced North Carolina (10-5) with a game-high 18 points, including the three-pointer that won the game.

Hillary Summers posted her third double-double of the season (10 points, 11 rebounds), while N’Dea Bryant added 10 points.

Sigi Koizar led Maine (9-6) with 21 points, while Sophie Weckstrom posted 18 points, and Mikaela Gustafsson added 10 points and 10 boards.

UNC led 43-30 at halftime, but a 12-2 run from the Black Bears in the fourth quarter tied the game 47-47 with 5:26 to play.

Both teams traded the lead until Watts’ final shot ended the game in the Tar Heels’ favor.

UNC opens ACC play on Sunday at home against Clemson.

Greenwell leads Duke past UNCW in 78-56 win

DURHAM, N.C. – Guard Rebecca Greenwell scored five three-pointers and pulled down a season-high nine rebounds as the Duke Blue Devils beat the UNCW Seahawks 78-56 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

Greenwell’s final tally of 23 points helped Duke to finish its non-conference schedule with an overall record of 11-3 while shooting over 50 percent from the floor for the second consecutive game.

Guard Crystal Primm scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field while forwards Azurá Stevens and Oderah Chidom supported the Blue Devils’ effort in the paint with 11 and eight points, respectively.

Naqaiyyah Teague (14 points) and Shatia Cole (11 points) paced the Seahawks (4-7) in the loss.

The Blue Devils led 38-26 at halftime with seven different scorers contributing to the effort.

Duke shot 57 percent from the field during the opening 20 minutes, but UNCW held a 17-16 edge in rebounding.

The Seahawks eventually outrebounded the Blue Devils by a 39-35 margin, only the third time this season an opponent has done that against Duke.

Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie was not happy with her team’s performance, despite posting the win.

‘I’ll never be pleased to be outrebounded by a much smaller team, so we’ll just continue to forge ahead and work on things and go from there,” McCallie said.

“But you let a team get 20 offensive rebounds in your own gym and they’re pretty much three to four inches shorter than you, that’s a concept of hustle. That’s a concept of desire and that’s just what it is.”

Three 3-pointers from Greenwell helped to ignite a 15-3 Blue Devils run in the third quarter to eventually hold a 62-35 lead heading into the final quarter.

Greenwell topped the 20-point mark for the second time in her last four games while the Blue Devils’ lead didn’t fall below 15 points before completing the win with a 22-point margin of victory.

“Obviously not a great team game for a lot of reasons, but I did love Becca’s rebounding and her tenacity on the floor,” McCallie said.

“That’s very important to recognize – that nine rebounds, hoping for 10 or more there – but just her overall game – love to see it. It’s important for her growth and it certainly helps the team.”

Duke opens ACC play on the road at Syracuse on Sunday.

Wolfpack drops 73-44 decision to No. 22 Miami

CORAL GABLES, FLA. The N.C. State Wolfpack fell to the 22nd-ranked Miami Hurricanes, suffering a 73-44 loss in their ACC opener on Wednesday.

Miah Spencer and Dominique Wilson led the Wolfpack offense with 11 points apiece, as N.C. State (9-5, 0-1) struggled from the field, shooting a season-low 25 percent while committing 17 turnovers.

Miami’s Laura Cornelius led all scorers with 20 points (6-6 3pt), while Jessica Thomas (14 points) and Michelle Woods (11 points) also helped the Hurricanes (13-1, 1-0) to convert on their 44-percent shooting performance.

“At halftime we were down 15 points,” N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said.

“We were outscored 10-0 in second-chance points and missed five free throws. There’s your 15 points. Pretty simple. I know it looks like we’re a long way away, but I look at it as though there are a lot of little things we can do better and be a better team than we are right now.”

Miami led17-8 after the first quarter, and built that up to a 38-23 advantage at halftime as N.C. State struggled from the field in the first half, shooting a paltry 8-of-31 inside the perimeter while struggling at 4-of-14 beyond the arc.

A 5-0 run helped pull the Wolfpack within 10 points (38-28) in the third quarter, but the Hurricanes put together a 14-2 run during the final four minutes of the period to lead 61-36.

Miami didn’t look back for the final 10 minutes of play.

N.C. State hosts Wake Forest on Sunday at Broughton High School.