UNC injuries not enough to lift NCCU
A depleted No. 19 North Carolina women’s basketball team still had plenty in the reserve tank to drive past N.C. Central for a 49-21 win at Carmichael Arena on Wednesday.
NCCU was limited to just two reserves in uniform, as the Lady Eagles’ normal eight-player rotation was reduced to seven with Montreshia Perry in street clothes.
UNC’s bench is limited, as well, though senior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt rejoined her teammates after being out with a concussion.
Ruffin-Pratt, cleared to play Wednesday morning, said she got tired on the floor but still led all scorers with 14 points.
“(Wednesday) was, like, my first day running full, so hopefully by Sunday I’ll be back to what I need to be for the game,” Ruffin-Pratt said.
UNC is on the road against Coastal Carolina on Sunday, and injuries could impact what UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell wants to do.
UNC’s Xylina McDaniel strained a hamstring during a light workout on Tuesday; Waltiea Rolle has a sprained ankle; Hillary Fuller continues to have issues with an Achilles’ tendon that has been giving her problems all season.
Hillary Summers is out for the season with an injured anterior cruciate ligament, but a pair of Tar Heels will be available for the next game.
Hatchell said Antoinette Bannister will play on Sunday after serving a one-game suspension against NCCU for missing requirements pertaining to conditioning.
UNC’s Erika Johnson will be eligible to play against Coastal Carolina after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules.
Latifah Coleman got bopped in the eye in two straight games, so she has has multiple visits to the eye doctor. Coleman did play against NCCU, getting four points and six rebounds.
On top of all of that, Danielle Butts had not practiced after hurting her knee when she and Ruffin-Pratt were in a car that was struck by another motorist.
Butts, whose knee still was sore during the NCCU game, had 10 points and eight rebounds against a Lady Eagles squad that ended the game shooting 16.3 percent from the field — 10.5 percent in the first half.
“I thought we played some pretty good defense,” Hatchell said.
Chasidy Williams, NCCU’s leading scorer, got off to another slow start and posted all seven of her points in the second half on 2-of-13 shooting.
UNC’s Megan Buckland put some good defense on Williams, Hatchell said.
The Tar Heels several times hounded the Lady Eagles until the shot clock expired.
The Lady Eagles got good looks at the basket in the first half but kept missing, NCCU coach Vanessa Taylor said.
In the second half, the Lady Eagles went to the rim stronger with their minds set on finishing instead of looking for the officials to make foul calls, Taylor said.
NCCU freshman Tisha Dixon finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
UNC’s injuries pushed sophomore Whitney Adams and freshman N’Dea Bryant into the starting lineup for the Tar Heels, who looked out of sorts before Ruffin-Pratt and Coleman checked in with the game knotted 3-3 with 15:34 left in the first half.
“I think when we came off the bench, we gave the team a little spark and got us back into rhythm,” Ruffin-Pratt said.
When Butts picked up her third foul, Hatchell said she was reminded of the 2011-12 season when the Tar Heels had to play with six players because injuries, something she’s hoping to avoid this time around.
“We were having a little bit of déjà vu out there,” Hatchell said.
NCCU gets another shot at its first win of the season at home against Winthrop on Saturday.
“It’s hard playing hard every day and not getting what you want,” Dixon said.
Taylor saw a silver lining.
“Under the circumstances, certainly, we’re always excited when we’re able to hold our opponents under 50 points, especially a team like Carolina that is so explosive offensively and is able to, with their pressure, create opportunities and score,” Taylor said.
NOTES — NCCU assistant coach Ed Geth’s return to Chapel Hill marked a trip to the campus where he was on the UNC men’s team that won the national championship in 1993. ... Both Dixon and Brooklyn Nets forward Jerry Stackhouse are from Kinston. Stackhouse played at UNC, and when Dixon was asked if he gave her any words of encouragement before her first time playing in Chapel Hill, she said no, and then her coach quipped: “He probably was still upset from that loss they took (Tuesday) night at the end where Jason Kidd hit that 3 at the end. I’m sure Tish needed to call him and pick him up,” Taylor said.
No. 19 UNC 49, NCCU 21
Percentages: FG .163, FT .583. 3-Point Goals: 0-1, .000 (A. Neely 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 1 (Williams). Turnovers: 26 (A. Neely 9, Williams 7, Hoyle 2, T. Neely 2, Dixon 2). Steals: 4 (Williams 4).
Percentages: FG .274, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Rountree 3-7, Buckland 2-7, Butts 1-1, Ruffin-Pratt 0-1, Coleman 0-1). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 4 (Bryant 2, Gross, Ruffin-Pratt). Turnovers: 14 (Ruffin-Pratt 4, Coleman 3, Rountree 3, Adams, Bryant, Gross, Butts). Steals: 15 (Ruffin-Pratt 4, Gross 4, Buckland 3, Rountree 2, Bryant, Coleman).
A—2,330. Officials—Lawson Newton, Bonnie Pettus, Pualani Spurlock.