No. 14 North Carolina 76, Robert Morris 47

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt played much of her freshman season wearing

braces on both shoulders as she got used to the rigors of college

basketball.

Now that the braces are off, the sophomore wing forward for No.

14 North Carolina looks like she’s ready for big things.

Italee Lucas led the way with 16 points while Ruffin-Pratt added

13 and a career-high 14 rebounds, sparking the Tar Heels to a 76-47

win over Robert Morris on Wednesday night.

”Without the braces I guess there’s more confidence in me going

to the basket,” Ruffin-Pratt said. ”They’re throwing me perfect

passes so it’s hard for me not to make shots. I feel a lot

comfortable. The braces kind of held me down a little bit. Now that

I have them off I’m going to the basket a lot harder.”

Cetera DeGraffenreid added 12 points, Jessica Breland 11 and

Waltiea Rolle 10 for the 2-0 Tar Heels, who have won all four

meetings in the series.

”Pratt had a good game,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ”It

was good to get that out of that position. This was probably her

best game. I knew she was capable of doing it. Last year there were

just too many things with her shoulders and all that. But she’s

worked hard. She could be even more aggressive offensively and I

think she will be as we move along.”

Breland, a senior forward, was playing in her second game since

sitting out last season with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

”Everything’s coming along,” Breland said. ”I’m trying to get

the wrinkles out of everything. As a team I think, outside of this

game, we’re doing good. We’re playing together and that’s a good

thing because when you play big teams it’s not going to be just one

person we need to stop. It’s going to be multiple players. I’m

trying to get back in the swing of things. It’s different from

playing pickup with your teammates. Playing in a real game, I have

to get used to how everything used to be and get back into the flow

of that.”

Latvian guard Kristine Silaraja had 20 points and Dominican

guard Yohanna Morton 11 for Robert Morris (0-2), which has seven

players from outside the United States on its roster.

UNC shot 46 percent from the floor to RMU’s 31, won the rebound

battle 49-39 and committed 10 turnovers to the visitors’ 19.

”We knew they (the Colonials) were going to be a good shooting

team,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ”They’ve got some kids,

especially their foreign kids who are nice players and make

shots.”

The Tar Heels took control from the outset, going up 16-2 on a

Lucas 3-pointer with 15:15 left in the first half.

The Colonials trailed 40-24 on a Silaraja layup with 19:51 to

go, but the Tar Heels scored the next 10 points including Chay

Shegog’s turnaround with 14:58 left to put the game away.

”It’s great experience for the young ladies to play a team at

this level,” Colonials coach Sal Buscaglia said. ”It only makes

you better. It puts you in a situation where focus is going to be

the main thing. You’ve got to bring everything to the court.”