No. 9 UNC routs East Tennessee State 95-62
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Stephanie Mavunga’s best offensive game was too much for East Tennessee State on Friday.
Mavunga scored a career-high 26 points to lead No. 9 North Carolina past East Tennessee State 95-62.
Mavunga shot 13 of 14 from the floor for the Tar Heels (13-1), who shot a season-best 57 percent from the floor.
”Allisha (Gray) was kind of giving me a hard time because I put these shoes on right before the game, and I’ve never worn them before,” Mavunga said. ”She was like, `That’s not a good idea.’ I was like, `If it’s not, I’ll change them at half.’ "
Mavunga made all seven of her attempts in the first half, so the shoes stayed.
With the Tar Heels beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday, the shoes might stay for a long time.
”You’re going to wear them again,” North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell told her post player after the game.
Jamie Cherry added 13 points and Jessica Washington had 10 points for North Carolina.
Gray had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina broke open a tight game with a 20-0 run over a four-minute stretch that spanned halftime.
The Tar Heels scored on nine consecutive possessions during that span, including a 45-foot runner by Cherry that beat the buzzer to end the first half.
”I don’t think we could withstand the storm much longer,” ETSU coach Brittney Ezell said. ”Without being too metaphorical or making too many analogies, the dam just broke there early in the second half. We never recovered.”
Shamauria Bridges scored 14 points on 4-of-18 shooting to lead ETSU (8-7), which dropped to 0-15 against North Carolina.
Tianna Tarter added 12 points for the Buccaneers.
The Tar Heels led 43-32 at halftime after closing the first half with a 10-0 run over the final 1:47, punctuated by Cherry’s long-range heave.
North Carolina had missed its first seven 3-point attempts before Washington made one from the left corner with 36 seconds remaining in the half.
The Tar Heels forced a shot clock violation on ETSU’s next possession, setting the stage for Cherry’s shot with 3.6 seconds left. She received the inbound pass, took three quick dribbles and swished a runner from just inside half court to send her team to the locker room with its first double-digit lead of the game.
”Basically, I closed my eyes and just threw it up there and was hoping it went in,” Cherry said. ”I heard everybody jumping up and down, and I assumed I made it.”
ETSU: Destiny Mitchell made her first four shots to lead an 11-1 run that gave ETSU an 11-5 lead with 14:40 left in the first half. She attempted just one more shot the rest of the game and did not score again.
North Carolina: Starting forward Xylina McDaniel, who is out indefinitely after having surgery on her right leg Wednesday, sat next to her team’s bench with her injured leg propped on a chair. She hobbled over with the aid of crutches to the team’s timeout huddles.
ETSU visits Furman on Jan. 10.
North Carolina hosts North Carolina State on Sunday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
”I thought someone was going to run out with a check for $20,000 and free tuition.” – Ezell on Cherry’s first-half buzzer beater.
Starting guard Latifah Coleman played just three minutes for North Carolina as she rested a sore foot. Hatchell said Coleman will play against N.C. State on Sunday. North Carolina reserve Megan Buckland left the game in the second half after a shoulder injury.