Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tar Heels feast on Virginia Tech

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 17 points as No. 16 North Carolina beat the Hokies 72-50 at Cassell Coliseum.

Virginia Tech’s Monet Tellier (left) finished with 15 points and eight assists on Friday night.

Grant Pearell | Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s Monet Tellier (left) finished with 15 points and eight assists on Friday night.

Virginia Tech Hokies basketball

Berman Courtside

BLACKSBURG — A hot buffet featuring chicken and lasagna was waiting for the North Carolina women’s basketball team outside its locker room after its game Friday night.

But the Tar Heels had already feasted upon Virginia Tech during the game.

No. 16 North Carolina beat the Hokies for the 13th time in the past 14 meetings, cruising to a 72-50 win at Cassell Coliseum.

Virginia Tech is one of only seven Division I schools in the country whose men’s and women’s basketball teams are both in last place.

Friday marked the third time this season that Tech (8-18, 2-13), which ranks 16th nationally in strength of schedule, allowed more than 70 points. Two other national and ACC powers, Duke and Maryland, also scored more than 70 against Tech.

When the Hokies and Tar Heels (24-4, 12-3) met last month at North Carolina, the Tar Heels edged Tech 48-45. Tech had a chance to tie the score at 47 with 11 seconds to go, but Uju Ugoka missed a jumper.

There was no such drama in the rematch.

UNC went on 23-4 run to build a 33-11 cushion with 5:20 left in the first half. The Tar Heels led 40-24 at halftime.

“It was a little faster tempo [this time],” said UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell, who earned her 903rd victory. “We pressured defensively a little bit more and forced the game to be a little more uptempo.”

In the first meeting, UNC’s 48 points were the fewest the Tar Heels have ever scored in a victory.

The Tar Heels made only two 3-pointers in that meeting but sank seven in the first half Friday. They finished the game 9 of 17 from 3-point range.

“There [were] some 3s that they hit in transition where we didn’t match up correctly,” said Tech guard Monet Tellier, who had 15 points and eight assists.

UNC guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 17 points. Xylina McDaniel, a 6-foot-2 forward who is the best freshman in the conference, added 13 points. Krista Gross had 11 points and nine rebounds. Waltiea Rolle, a 6-6 center, had nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

“Their guards are big. Their posts are huge,” Tellier said. “They have good instincts to the ball.”

Down 53-31 with 12:59 remaining, Tech went on a 14-6 run to cut the lead to 59-45 with 8:54 left. But the Hokies came no closer.

UNC’s Brittany Rountree answered with a 3-pointer in transition to extend the lead to 62-45. Her basket began a 9-2 run that gave the Tar Heels a 68-47 cushion with 4:58 to go.

The Hokies shot 33.9 percent from the field. It was the 18th time this season they shot worse than 40 percent.

“I would bet that there were half a dozen layups missed on our part,” Virginia Tech coach Dennis Wolff said. “And we were 5 of 14 from the free-throw line. Against a team that big and talented, we can’t do that to ourselves. … We just need to finish more plays. … We left points out there, and we can’t do that.”“It’s very difficult to win games when you’re shooting below 35 percent.”

Starting guards Alyssa Fenyn, Aerial Wilson and Lauren Evans were a combined 3 of 19 from the field.

Tech was 7 of 15 from 3-point range but just 12 of 41 inside the arc (29.3 percent).

Freshman Alexis Lloyd had a career-high 11 points off the bench for Tech. Lloyd and Tellier each sank three 3-pointers.

Ugoka had 10 points despite suffering from the flu.

Tellier, Ugoka and Lloyd combined for 14 of Tech’s 19 baskets.

The Hokies, who lost their fourth straight game, will host another member of the Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday. No. 19 Florida State (20-6, 10-5), which lost to Duke on Friday, will pay a visit.

Tech forward Taijah Campbell missed her sixth straight game Friday with an injured foot.

NORTH CAROLINA (24-4)

Gross 2-8 5-6 11, McDaniel 5-11 1-4 13, Rolle 4-12 1-4 9, Rountree 2-5 0-0 6, Ruffin-Pratt 5-11 7-9 17, Coleman 2-5 0-0 6, Buckland 1-1 1-2 4, Butts 3-4 0-0 6, Bryant 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-58 15-25 72.

VIRGINIA TECH (8-18)

Hadley 1-2 0-0 2, Wilson 1-6 0-1 2, L. Evans 0-7 0-0 0, Fenyn 2-6 2-2 7, Tellier 5-14 2-6 15, Young 0-1 0-0 0, Ugoka 5-10 0-2 10, N. Evans 1-4 1-3 3, Kiss-Rusk 0-0 0-0 0, Lloyd 4-6 0-0 11, Conyers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 5-14 50.

Halftime—North Carolina 40-24. 3-Point Goals—North Carolina 9-17 (Coleman 2-2, McDaniel 2-4, Gross 2-4, Rountree 2-5, Buckland 1-1, Ruffin-Pratt 0-1), Virginia Tech 7-15 (Tellier 3-4, Lloyd 3-4, Fenyn 1-3, L. Evans 0-1, Wilson 0-3). Fouled Out—Butts, Young. Rebounds—North Carolina 41 (Gross 9), Virginia Tech 35 (Fenyn 7). Assists—North Carolina 18 (Rolle 5), Virginia Tech 12 (Tellier 8). Total Fouls—North Carolina 17, Virginia Tech 19. A—1,844.

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