Advantageous Tar Heels take down Lady Eagles

VIDEO: Game Highlights

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

Box Score (PDF)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina scored 24 points off of turnovers in the first half to open up a lead defeating Carson-Newman 115-74 in exhibition play Thursday evening at Carmichael Arena.

"That's the way Carolina is going to play," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "They're going to get up in you and press you to see how you handle it. If you handle it, they may back up a little bit. If you don't handle it, and we didn't, then they're going to pin their ears back and be more aggressive.

"Once they flexed their muscle on us, we played uncharacteristically bad. We started throwing lollipop passes into the air. We weren't strong and physical on the perimeter when they were strong and physical with us. There were a lot of points off turnovers. That's stuff that we're not used to."

It was the most points the C-N has ever scored against the Tar Heels in 10 meetings while Carolina's total was the second-most behind a 121-52 win on Nov. 10, 2009.

Carolina started the game with the first six points of the night before Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) hit a driving left-handed layup with 7:23 to go in the first frame. C-N pulled within two twice before a 19-2 surge from the Heels pushed the margin to 30-10. Mincey's unit scored the final four of the quarter to make it a 16-point contest.

After putting up 18 points off of turnovers in the first 10 minutes, UNC pressed the bulge out to 31 points at 52-21 with 4:35 to go in the half. Each club hit a triple late as the visitors went into the locker room down 59-30.

North Carolina made 58 percent of its shots from the field get 48 points in the paint as a trio of players reached double figures. Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) led the Lady Eagles with 11 points and four blocks through 20 minutes.

The third quarter was efficient for C-N who shot 48 percent and was outscored by just eight points. Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) scored 14 points in the frame as the Heels entered the fourth on top 95-58.

It was a 20-16 differential in the fourth frame as each side was able to clear their benches.

Price led the way for C-N with 18 points in the game in 28 minutes of action. The senior went 8-for-16 from the field and added three steals.

Wester stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, six boards and six blocks on the evening. Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) ended the night with nine points missing two of her six attempts with six rebounds.

"Haris had a good third quarter," Mincey said. "She made some spectacular plays there to get us to 28 points in the third. Mika's stats were OK, but we're going to need her to put the ball in the basket a little bit more. Some of the moves she was making, she's going to score against a smaller defender."

Six Heels finished in double figures as Stephanie Watts led all scored with 28 points as she added six boards, six assists and four rejections.

Janelle Bailey finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Naomi Van Nes had 11 points and 11 caroms. Paris Kea, Jaelynn Murray and Shayla Bennett registered 14, 11 and 10 respectively to round out the scoring stars.

Overall, UNC shot 54 percent from the field outrebounding C-N 62-44 on the night. The clubs combined for 44 turnovers and the Tar Heels racked up 68 points in the paint.

Exhibition season continues Monday night on Rocky Top as the Lady Eagles take on 11th-ranked Tennessee at 7 p.m. from Thompson-Boling Arena. The contest will air on 106.3 (WPFT-FM), and streaming on the ESPN app.

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