Another chance at a good game. Gampel Pavilion is sold out, and the weather is very cold. Single digits expected tonight.
Looking backwards, just two days ago, the Huskies trounced Cincinnati, 83-51. They welcomed home first-year Bearcat Coach Jamelle Elliot by pulling off the press, but played an outstanding first half of basketball, to lead 52-26 at the break. The starters came out flat and listless in the second half, and all of them were benched after just four-and-a-half minutes. Kalana Greene never returned, while first Moore, then the others reentered with just 7 minutes remaining in the game. Moore finished with 25 points.
The big news of that game was obviously not the win, which was preordained, but a seriously turned ankle suffered by Tiffany Hayes just 2 minutes into the game. She lay on the court for an extended period, and did not return. But at least it was an ankle, not a knee. And she participated in warm-ups for North Carolina with good movement, though perhaps favoring the wrapped right ankle a bit.
The Tar Heels are much less a team without the injured Jessica Breland, and their guards are the strength of the team now. Italee Lucas is the outside threat and leading scorer at 17.4 points per game. Cetera DeGraffenreid is one of the nation's best point guards, averaging 15.3 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, with a creditable 1.72:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
To benchmark that, UConn's double-headed system at the point (Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty) cumulatively averages 7.5 assists per game with a 1.75 assist-to-turnover ratio.
But North Carolina has not played anybody until now, with the possible exception of Michigan State (now ranked 19/21) to whom they lost 72-66 in early December.
So please tell me that this is not the No. 10 team in the nation! Score at halftime, Tina Charles 25, North Carolina 24.