The Tar Heels were led by freshman point guard Leah Metcalf, who scored 24 points and handed out six assists in 37 minutes of playing time. Also in double figures for the Tar Heels was sophomore center Candace Sutton, who had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Sophomore Chrystal Baptist had a team-leading nine rebounds before fouling out after 22 minutes of play.
The Premier Players squad was led by 21 points from former Georgia player Coco Miller, now with the WNBA's Washington Mystics. Miller is one of three players on the team who were first-round picks in the 2001 WNBA draft. Her sister, Kelly Miller, had 10 points and led the team with seven assists. She now plays for the Charlotte Sting. Former UNC All-America LaQuanda Barksdale, now a member of the Portland Fire, led the squad with nine rebounds in her one appearance with the team. Barksdale is finishing her degree at UNC, so will not travel on with the squad, which will play Auburn, Florida State, Florida, South Florida, Alabama and Miami in the next 12 days.
Another familiar face on the visiting team was former Tar Heel player Chanel Wright. Wright, who graduated in 1999, had two points and six rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
Metcalf saw more time than expected for Carolina after junior guard Coretta Brown was unable to return to the game after suffering leg cramps late in the first half. The Tar Heels also were without senior guard Nikki Teasley, who did not dress for the game. UNC announced Thursday that Teasley would not play in UNC's season opener on Nov. 9 while serving a one-game suspension for a violation of the NCAA's outside competition rule. Hatchell did not play Teasley in the exhibition game, choosing to focus on the team's lineup for the season opener.
"We were a little patched up out there," Hatchell said. "Nikki didn't play and Coretta didn't play in the second half, but I saw a lot of good things from our younger players. I was very pleased with Leah Metcalf-I told her she played like a senior today." Freshman forward Nikita Bell joined Metcalf in the staring lineup and scored nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.
For the game, UNC was 30 of 78 (38.5 percent) from the field to 34 of 72 (47.2 percent) by the Premier Players. The visitors led 44-40 at halftime.
The Tar Heels will play their final exhibition game of the season Saturday at 4 p.m., when they host a Basketball Travelers team from Holland, the Perik Jumpers, at Carmichael Auditorium. UNC opens the season Nov. 9 in a first-round WNIT game against George Mason.