Freshmen lead the way in women's exhibition win

Freshmen Little and Latta combine for 45 points in exhibition win over Premier Players 100-61.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Led by freshmen Camille Little and Ivory Latta, the North Carolina women's basketball team defeated Premier Players 100-61 Wednesday evening at Carmichael Auditorium in an exhibition game that was the Tar Heels' first action of the 2003-04 season.

Little, a forward from Winston-Salem, N.C., finished the game with 25 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs. Latta, a guard from McConnells, S.C., scored 20 points and handed out six assists. The other three starters also hit double figures with sophomore La'Tangela Atkinson and junior Leah Metcalf totalling 18 each and senior center Candace Sutton adding 14. Atkinson had 13 rebounds to join Little with a double-double.

Tonya Washington, who played for the University of Florida, led Premier Players with 17. Former Virginia Tech player Tere Williams scored 13 off the bench and Kym Hope, who played at Miami, was the third player in double figures with 10 points.

"I expected the freshmen to play well tonight," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Camille Little has been the most pleasant surprise - she's even better than I thought she would be. Ivory Latta played well, too. She had some turnovers, but that's OK - I want her pushing the ball up the court."

As a team, the Tar Heels committed 23 turnovers, eight by Metcalf (who also had eight assists) and six by Latta. UNC, which equalled its turnovers with 23 assists, won the rebounding battle 55-37 for the game, 29-11 in the second half.

The Tar Heels took some time to build a substantial lead. Premier Players led 21-18 with 9:25 to play in the first half, but baskets by Sutton and Metcalf put UNC up for good. The Tar Heels closed the half with a 10-0 run that put them up 49-31 at the break. The game was never closer than that and UNC gradually extended its lead to as many as 39 points, which was also the final margin.

"It took us a little while to get in a rhythm, but when we did I thought we had some good runs, distributed the ball well and rebounded well," Hatchell said. "And I thought five in double figures showed a good team effort."

The starters scored all but five points in the game. Both Nikita Bell and Jessica Sell were hampered by injuries and came off the bench for limited minutes. Bell played just 10 minutes and scored four points, and Sell saw six minutes and had one point. Senior Carrie Davis played 15 minutes and junior Jennifer Nelms, who joined the team in the fall, saw her first action in a Tar Heel uniform with 14 minutes. Sophomore center Tiffany Tucker played seven minutes.

Junior forward Kenya McBee did not dress for the game. She is serving a four-game suspension for a violation of team rules and will miss UNC's second exhibition game as well as the first two regular-season games. She will return to the court for the Nov. 25 game at Kentucky.

The Tar Heels play their second exhibition on Monday at 7 p.m. against the West Coast All-Stars. Carolina's season opener is on Nov. 21 against St. Francis (Pa.)

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