No. 18 UNC stops No. 15 Nebraska in ACC/Big Ten women's clash
The No. 18 UNC women’s basketball team beat No. 15 Nebraska 75-62 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night.
The win moved North Carolina (7-2) to 5-2 all time in the Challenge.
Nebraska (6-2), which joined the Big Ten two years ago, remains winless in Challenge games.
Xylina McDaniel hit her first eight shots of the game and led all scorers with 25 points on 11 of 15 shooting. McDaniel also added eight rebounds. Credit for the performance went to a familiar face — UNC head coach Sylvia Hatchell, who is becoming more involved with the team as she recovers from leukemia treatment.
“Thank you, Coach Hatchell,” interim coach Andrew Calder said. “She had a one-on-one session with Xylina, yesterday. Also, her being at the team meal today was great. She gave a talk about protecting our home court and had a major part in this win in many ways. She’s continuing to help mold this team.”
“We talked about my progress—what I’ve worked on, and what I need to work on,” McDaniel said of the meeting with Hatchell. “The main focus was my temper. In previous games, I’ve averaged four fouls. She said I have to keep cool. Don’t question calls and get a reputation with officials.”
Hatchell gave McDaniel a rubber band to wear on her wrist. “Whenever I feel myself getting worked up, I click it,” McDaniel explained.
McDaniel might have needed to snap the rubber band a few times after Nebraska’s fast start. The Cornhuskers jumped out to an early nine-point lead, after hitting four straight 3-pointers. Senior all-American Jordan Hooper hit her first three from long range for the Huskers.
But Hooper picked up two fouls in a 55-second stretch midway through the first half and sat out seven minutes, allowing the Tar Heels to build a 10-point halftime edge. Hooper finished with 18 points on 7 of 19 shooting.
“We got down early but didn’t panic,” Calder said. “In the end, we thought we could wear them down.”
Freshman Allisha Gray scored 12 of her 14 points after halftime and recorded a game-high four steals. “My offensive game wasn’t working, so I went to other aspects of my game,” Gray said. “My defense started coming along and added fuel to the fire on offense.”
The Tar Heels announced after the game that redshirt sophomore guard Megan Buckland will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on her right ACL earlier in the day. Buckland hurt her knee during the Tar Heels’ loss to Tennessee on November 11.
Buckland had two ACL surgeries on her left knee during the 2011-12 season.
|No. 18 UNC 75, No. 15 NEBRASKA 62|
Percentages: FG .393, FT 1.000.
3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Hooper 4-10, Jeffery 1-3, Laudermill 1-4, Murren 0-1, Theriot 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Cady 2).
Turnovers: 21 (Cady 5, Sample 4, Havers 4, Theriot 4, Hooper 3, Laudermill).
Steals: 3 (Hooper, Theriot, Cady).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .485, FT .455.
3-Point Goals: 6-20, .300 (Gray 2-4, Rountree 2-6, McDaniel 1-3, DeShields 1-3, Mavunga 0-1, Washington 0-3).
Team Rebounds: 7.
Blocked Shots: 4 (Mavunga 2, Gray, Bryant).
Turnovers: 15 (Mavunga 5, DeShields 4, Gray 2, Butts 2, Rountree, Washington).
Steals: 13 (Gray 4, Butts 3, Mavunga 2, Washington, Rountree, Coleman, McDaniel).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Joe Cunningham, Daryl Humphrey, Dan Outlaw.