CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - After going down to unbeaten Oklahoma State on Monday, the North Carolina women's basketball team came out shooting Wednesday to roll past the USC Upstate Spartans with an 80-40 victory at Chapel Hill's Carmichael Arena.
Both teams came in with same 6-5 record, and it didn't take long for UNC's Destinee Walker to get into the groove of the game with a three in just the first four minutes.
It was clear that Stephanie Watts' game was on fire. Watts did miss early on at the line, but not to worry, Erika Johnson came in for the close rebound to assist Watts with a three-pointer to end the first quarter 23-12. Watts finished the starting quarter in double digits, with 21 points and 10 in assists.
"My coaches just keep me confident, so I just keep playing hard," Watts said. "I've been in the gym a lot shooting and my teammates got me open."
UNC Coach Slyvia Hatchell showed pleasure with the performance.
"The girls were really moving up and down the floor today, because we didn't want to get caught watching the paint dry," Hatchell said, quoting the movie Hoosiers in regards to USC Upstate Assistant Coach Dr. Bill Tinder who was a member of the boys' basketball team at Muncie Central depicted in the movie.
The Tar Heels put on a show of their own. A surprise missed three from Jamie Cherry might have slowed the Tar Heels, but Junior Xylina McDaniel came in for the rebound and the layup. This wasn't the only action McDaniel would see. The forward surprised everyone with a three, ending the game with 10 points.
Coming back in the second half, Jamie Cherry, who played a significant role in bringing her team back in the Oklahoma State game, entered into the action with a beautiful three-point shot. Cherry ended the game with 13 points and seven assists. N'Dea Bryant, who dominated in rebounds and steals, finished with six points and five rebounds.
Playing like a team, Coach Hatchell and Watts both agreed Wednesday's showing was the most complete game the UNC women's basketball team has had so far this season.
"Between offense and defense, we just played hard on both ends of the floor, so probably the best overall," Watts said.
The Upstate Spartans had some good moments, taking advantage of UNC's failed shots and missed rebounds. The game saw Kristen Dickerson assisting to Brittany Starling, the Atlantic Sun first rank rebounder, for the layup over Watts. That would keep Starling on the leaderboard, ending with 12 points and 10 rebounds.