No. 14 North Carolina 93, W. Carolina 36
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell was pleased with her team's defensive effort.
Italee Lucas scored 16 points and Chay Shegog added 14 to help No. 14 North Carolina rout Western Carolina 93-36 on Sunday.
UNC jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game, added an 11-0 run midway through the half, and then finished on a 15-0 sprint while taking a 47-17 halftime lead en route to the victory.
''Lots of teams (Western Carolina) has played, they played better, including some ACC teams,'' North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ''So I hope our defense is that good. I hope we can keep holding people down.''
The Catamounts couldn't match the Tar Heels' ability to turn size and speed into aggressiveness and points. UNC held Western Carolina to 26 percent shooting in the game.
''Their size and length it's not something with see a lot of in the (Southern Conference),'' Western Carolina coach Karen Middleton said. ''One thing we've been trying to do is spread the floor and get (our shooters) on the move. But as everyone knows, you can't rely on 3-pointers.''
UNC has beaten its four opponents by an average of 52.8 points but should see tougher challenges in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu. UNC meets Washington State in the opening round on Friday.
The Tar Heels want to keep the pace brisk.
''I guess you can say we can always go faster,'' DeGraffenreid said. ''The teams we face in Hawaii will push us faster so maybe we'll put more points up.''
UNC has won the tournament twice, last winning it in 2006, the last time it played there.
Hatchell gave a clear response when asked about the team's next goal.
''Win the tournament,'' Hatchell said. ''That's what I told them in the locker room.''
Laura Sanchez and Caitlin Hollifield scored eight points each to lead Western Carolina.
The Catamounts hit three 3s after going down 10-0 to start, but paid the price when long misses began turning into quick UNC buckets on the other end. UNC outrebounded Western Carolina 42 to 31.
UNC guard Cetera DeGraffenreid made sure the Tar Heels caused disruption. She made six steals while UNC was turning 17 first-half miscues into 24 first-half points. She finished with seven steals, eight assists and seven points.
Western Carolina senior Emily Clarke passed the 1,000-point mark with the Catamounts' first bucket, a 3-pointer for 1,001 total, at the 14:44 mark of the first half.
''I'm really happy for her and the career she is having,'' Middleton said of Clarke. ''We rely on her a lot.''
Western Carolina has a week off before opening its conference schedule against Samford on November 29.