Breland’s 18 leads No. 10 NCarolina to 75-51 win
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell had a simple message for
her No. 10 Tar Heels on Sunday, reminding them they were much
taller than South Carolina.
And No. 10 North Carolina (11-0) used that height advantage well
in its 75-51 win, pulling down 24 more rebounds than the Gamecocks
(5-5) in a 75-51 win.
South Carolina doesn’t have anyone taller than 6-foot-1, so
Hatchell kept a fresh set of forwards and centers coming at them.
Six-foot-3 Jessica Breland led the Tar Heels with 18 points and 10
rebounds, while 6-foot-6 Waltiea Rolle had 14 points and 12
”I think our size made a difference,” Hatchell said.
The Tar Heels are trying to make it through the first two months
of the season undefeated for the second time in three years and
don’t play another major conference team until the Atlantic Coast
Conference season starts. The schedule hasn’t been too tough, with
just one team currently in the top 25 in Iowa.
”If you don’t space things out, you can burn them out,”
Hatchell said. ”I try to plan it so they peak in March.”
North Carolina survived a sloppy first half that saw them turn
over the ball 17 times – three more than its average per game
But South Carolina couldn’t take advantage of the mistakes. The
Gamecocks shot just 27 percent (9 of 33) from the field in the
first half and made just one of 15 3-pointers. They also were
outrebounded 33-14 in the first 20 minutes.
”When all that is going against you, it’s hard to keep the game
close,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said.
The Gamecocks hit four more from behind the arc in the second
half, but still shot worse than their season average of 26.2
percent, one of the worst percentages in the nation.
Marah Strickland led the Gamecocks with 18 points, while
La’Keisha Sutton added nine points.
The Gamecocks led just once – 19-18 about midway through the
first half after Samone Kennedy made a free throw.
The Tar Heels answered on Cetera DeGraffenried’s fastbreak layup
seven seconds later that sparked a 23-8 run that gave North
Carolina a 41-27 lead at half.
In the locker room, Hatchell wasn’t as angry with the 17
turnovers as some might have thought, Breland said.
”A lot of them came when we were trying to fast break,”
Breland said. ”Coach Hatchell is kind of OK with fastbreak
turnovers as long as we’re pushing it.”
There was plenty of Carolina blue in the stands as Hatchell
brought her team to Myrtle Beach for a December ”home” game for a
16th straight year. Hatchell won two national titles about 60 miles
away at Division II Francis Marion and heavily works the high
schools in northeast South Carolina.
”I love coming down here,” said Hatchell, whose teams are now
18-4 in Myrtle Beach. ”All the people who are so special to me
come down here.”
South Carolina fell to 3-19 against ranked opponents since Dawn
Staley took over three seasons ago and hasn’t beaten a top ten team
since January 2002.
Staley, a three-time Olympic gold medalist on the court with six
NCAA tournament appearances as coach at Temple is now 29-38 in her
third season with the Gamecocks. Her career winning percentage has
dropped from .683 to .630 since coming to Columbia.
”One of these days,” Staley said with a small smile after the
game. ”One of these days.”