Lady Tar Heels hit the gas to blast past Lady Chants

No. 19 North Carolina used a 19-4 run over the final five minutes of the first half and the opening five minutes of the second to pull away from Coastal Carolina en route to a 75-49 victory over the home standing Chanticleers in Sunday matinee at The HTC Center.

For the second straight game the Chants (6-3, 1-0 Big South) were paced by Angelica Henry, who finished with 15 points – nine of which came from the charity stripe. The guard also turned in a team-high four assists and four steals. Sophomore AJ Jordan led Coastal with nine boards.

North Carolina’s (10-1) Antoinette Bannister led a trio of Tar Heels in double figures with 13 points on 4-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Megan Buckland scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The game opened on a feverous pace with both team pushing the ball up the court as quickly as possible. The Tar Heels’ Ruffin-Pratt opened up the scoring with an old-fashioned 3-point play. A Henry free throw and Shatia Cole runner in the lane knotted the score early. Ruffin-Pratt then scored four of UNC’s next six points to extend the lead out to 9-5 before Cole answered with a deep trey to cut the Chants deficit down to one.

The Tar Heels then jumped out to a 15-10 lead before Katelyn Connor banked a hook shot off the glass to bring the score back to within three points at 15-12. A Jordan jumper would be Coastal’s only offense over the ensuing four minutes while North Carolina pulled out to a 23-14 lead.

Coastal refused to back down using a 9-4 run capped by a DJ Hunter 10-footer to cut UNC’s lead down to four at 27-23. However, North Carolina put together a 12-4 run, with Coastal’s only point coming by way of Henry free throws, to end the half an take a 39-27 lead into the locker rooms.

North Carolina took advantage of Coastal’s physical play in the early going of the second half, scoring five points from the free-throw line as part of a 7-0 run to open the half.

Alexx Puckett scored four straight points to trim Coastal’s deficit to 46-31 with 12:55 to play; however, the Tar Heels countered with a 14-4 run over the next 4:04 to put the game out of reach for good.

The Chants’ scrappy defense forced 21 North Carolina turnovers; unfortunately, Coastal only converted 12 points off those turnovers and were limited to only eight second-chance points off 16 offensive boards.

Coastal Carolina returns to action on Tuesday at South Carolina State. The Chanticleers and Bulldogs will tipoff from the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center in Orangeburg, S.C., at 5:30 p.m.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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