|Shegog's 20 Helps UNC Sweep Wahoos|
Rob Clough's DWHoops preview of the Virginia-North Carolina matchup identified Chay Shegog as a key player for the Tar Heels tonight,and indeed her 9-11 shooting 20 point outburst was too big a mountain for Virginia to climb. But while Shegog was nearly perfect from the floor a perhaps bigger mountain was 21 Cavalier turnovers, an uncharacteristic stat for the team with a +10.1 turnover margin in prior ACC play.
Indeed, the Heels had Virginia on the ropes, holding a 16 point lead with as many minutes to play. But the Hoos shooters suddenly found their range and used several runs to battle back for a 52-52 tie with 4:00 left. After the two teams traded buckets Tierra Ruffin-Pratt then smartly attacked the basket, her three point play gave the Heels a 57-54 advantage. The ever-tough Lexie Gerson answered with a two point jumper but Candace Wood responded with a shot-clock beating dagger of a three to give Carolina a four point lead. Virginia's tired legs couldn't answer the call again
and Wood closed out the game with four free throws.
Ariana Moorer led all scorers with 21 points on 7-14 shooting, but Virginia coach Joanne Boyle lamented the fact that plays had to be called for her again and again, that there was no relief for the senior guard. Gerson had seven points in each half while Ataira Franklin's 11 all came in the second stanza. For UNC, Wood scored 14 on 3-9 from distance and Ruffin-Pratt's seven all seemed to come at critical moments. Krista Gross led UNC on the boards with seven, and five Tar Heels had three or more assists.
In some areas Virginia did better than expected, matching the Heels 35 boards and getting to the line five more times than Carolina, but in the end their turnovers and Shegog's steady and patient play inside were too much to overcome. Looking at the ACC race this was a key win for UNC, who improved their third place record to 7-2. The Heels still have road dates looming at Duke (Monday), Miami (Wednesday), and Maryland, and any quality wins on the road would go a long way towards improving their NCAA resume. Virginia drops to 4-6 ACC, and while they're tied for seventh with NC State, the worst of their conference schedule is behind them. They'll remain in the Triangle for the weekend, hoping to bring home a victory in their Sunday matchup with the Wolfpack in Reynolds.
DWHoops Photos by Orin Day