Tar Heel women fall to top-ranked UConn

Carolina's Coretta Brown defends Connecticut's Diana Taurasi
This Huskies' team is top-ranked and they showed why. UConn outmuscled and pushed the Heels around like a school yard bully, leading by as many as 30 in the 2nd half.

Some people thought the key to beating the Huskies was taking the guards, All-American Sue Bird and sophomore star in the making Diana Taurasi, out of the game. Surprisingly while Bird ran the show with skill, Taurasi was rather quiet.

It was the post players that did the Heels in. Forward Tamika Williams grabbed 19 rebounds to push top-ranked UConn to a 70-31 rebounding margin. From the other forward spot, Swin Cash tossed in 16 points and center Asjha Williams added 17. The trio helped take UNC's 6-6 Candice Sutton out of her game, limiting her to 10 points.

Connecticut opened strong and Carolina attempted to battle back but when Nikki Teasley picked up her third foul halfway through the first half, the wind seemed to go out of their sails.

Poor shooting woes struck the Heels - taking away three-point attempts, UNC went 14-51, 27%.

UNC's Metcalf tries to corral a loose ball with UConn's Sue Bird getting a hand on it
The bright spot for the Heels was freshman guard Leah Metcalf dropping 25 points. Granted, it took her 23 shots to get there but anyone who goes 5-12 from three-point range gets a pat on the back. The fastest player on the team has hit five three-pointers in second straight game and is averaging over 20 points a game - that's impressive on a team with the guard talent of Carolina. Her four steals and five assists tonight were both a team high and she hit the deck for many a loose ball.

With Teasley sitting out last season and the first game of this year coupled with a bumper crop of freshman, Coach Hatchell has experimented with the starting lineup. While the lineup didn't appear to reap any benefits tonight , it does hold a great deal of promise. The Heels are starting Metcalf, Brown and Teasley in the backcourt - three players who can all bring the ball up the court or score at will. UNC can use the versatility of all three to create mismatch problems and should be able to effectively break future presses with ease. Slashing Chrystal Baptist and powerful Sutton in the frontcourt are a good combination - with Jennifer Thomas and Nikita Bell coming off the bench.

Tonight wasn't pretty but the Heels can take some good things from this game like being 11-27 as a team from three-point land, Metcalf's scoring and if nothing else, a sense of the level they need to get their game up to to compete on the biggest stage. Look for Carolina to take out some frustrations on Western Carolina Tuesday night at Carmichael.

UConn 94, North Carolina 74


Baptist 1-3 0-0 2, Sutton 4-9 2-2 10, Brown 5-18 3-4 17, Metcalf 7-23 6-8 25, Teasley 4-13 0-1 10, Thomas 1-1 2-2 4, Laaksonen 0-3 0-0 0, Chambers 0-0 0-0 0, Bell 3-8 0-0 6, McBee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-78 13-17 74.


Cash 8-17 0-1 16, Williams 5-8 0-1 10, Jones 7-12 3-5 17, Taurasi 5-15 2-3 14, Bird 7-15 6-6 20, A.Valley 0-0 0-0 0, Conlon 2-7 0-0 6, Marron 0-0 0-0 0, M.Valley 1-3 0-0 3, Battle 3-3 0-0 6, Moore 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 39-82 11-16 94.

Halftime-Connecticut 51-34. 3-Point goals-North Carolina 11-27 (Metcalf 5-12, Brown 4-9, Teasley 2-6), Connecticut 5-16 (Conlon 2-4, Taurasi 2-7, M.Valley 1-1, Jones 0-1, Bird 0-3). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-North Carolina 31 (Brown 7), Connecticut 70 (Williams 19). Assists-North Carolina 9 (Metcalf 5), Connecticut 19 (Taurasi 6). Total fouls-North Carolina 20, Connecticut 15. Technical-Laaksonen. A-10,027.

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