No. 5 North Carolina defeats Carson-Newman, 121-52, In Exhibition Tuesday
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Carson-Newman
College Women’s Basketball Team closed out its exhibition
season Tuesday night as it took on perennial national contender and
preseason fifth-ranked North Carolina at the Dean E. Smith Center.
Though the Lady Eagles fell by a 121-52 score, ninth-year Head
Coach Dean Walsh was pleased with the result.
“Their length and size caused the difference in turnovers and points off turnovers tonight,” said Walsh. “There were times when we were able to hang in there and run our plays, and I thought we looked really good. When we were able to execute, good things happened.”
UNC jumped out to a 8-2 lead just 1:49 into the contest but the Lady Eagles made a hard run to close the gap to 12-10 at the 16:52 mark. C-N battled Carolina hard late in the first half as well. Between the 7:22 and 3:49 marks, the scoring margin was only two points (14-12) in favor of the Tar Heels.
The second half saw North Carolina’s margin increase as the Lady Eagles only shot 16.7 percent (5-for-30) from the field compared to the Tar Heels’ 58.5 percent (24-for-41) clip.
“We got a lot of great looks in the second half, but they just wouldn’t fall,” continued Walsh. “If we made the easy shots that we missed, we could have easily scored 80 and kept them from getting transition layups.”
North Carolina saw six players reach double figures in scoring and were led by Laura Broomfield (Lexington Park, Md.) with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Krista Gross (Charlotte, N.C.) had a game-high 16 points.
Junior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) led the Lady Eagles with 11 points as she led all players going three-for-five from behind the arc. Senior forward Shari Buford (Hampton, Ga.) had four points, eight rebounds and two blocks as well for C-N.
UNC Head Coach and Carson-Newman Sports Hall of Fame Member Sylvia Hatchell (class of ’74) had nothing but good things to say about the Lady Eagles’ performance.
“(Carson-Newman) plays an up tempo style of basketball and they have the kids that can get up and down the court and can shoot," commented Hatchell. "Dean (Walsh) does a great job as coach and you can tell that this team is organized and will work together. I expect them to win 20 games this season and make a run in the national tournament. The way they played tonight makes me proud to be a Carson-Newman alumna.”
Carson-Newman has now played three top 25 NCAA Division I teams in since Nov. 2. The Lady Eagles must now look to the regular season schedule and focus on their Division II opponents. C-N’s first contest of the regular season will be at home against Anderson (S.C.) University, a 2009 NCAA Tournament participant and future member of the South Atlantic Conference. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m., on Sunday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.
“We are finished with what we can consider our nine days of basic training, and now we are ready to go to war,” Walsh concluded.
-Joe Matthews, C-N Sports Information