by Mike Potter
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC will put its 2012-13 women’s basketball team on display for the first time today.
Veteran coach Sylvia Hatchell’s alma mater has become a familiar figure in these preseason exhibitions, and the tradition has been for the Tar Heels to win by many dozen points and the Eagles to collect a big check.
Division II Carson-Newman, which went 17-11 last season, is picked seventh in the South Atlantic Conference.
It will be the debut at Carmichael for 6-2 freshman Xylina McDaniel, the daughter of former NBA star Xavier McDaniel and a projected impact played in the ACC.
You know the drill. The Tar Heels lead 6-1, then 24-2. Courdne Miles’ drive for the Eagles cuts it to 33-4 with 9:42 left in the half, but it’s 52-7 at halftime.
And then it’s 101-21 on a pair of Whitney Adams free throws with 3:08 to go.
All 12 Tar Heels score, with six in double figures. Krista Gross comes off the bench for 15 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes, followed by Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 14 points. McDaniel and Waltiea Rolle add 12 each, with Brittany Rountree chipping in 11 and N’Dea Bryant 11 off the bench.
Shyra Brown leads the Eagles with nine points.
The Tar Heels shoot 48.8 percent from the floor to the visitors’ 16.4, out-rebound them 63-37 and force 41 turnovers to 20 of their own.
They said it …
Hatchell: “I like this team we have this year. It’s good to have the kids who were out most of last season (with injuries) back. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt playing point guard is doing a great job. Her size and her decision-making makes a big difference. … We didn’t shoot quite as well as we have in practice, but that will come I think. We’ve got Brittney and several others who can knock it down. Xylina is going to be a force, you can tell that. She’s got an extremely high basketball IQ and was one rebound away from a double-double.”
Gross: “Depth is nice. People get to rotate around and you get to play different positions. It helps us because we’re so fast this year — we want to bring a whole new level to ‘Carolina fast,’ so it helps because people don’t get as tired and you have people fresh all the time. To see freshmen come in and do work like (McDaniel) did today is good.”
McDaniel: “Taking the responsibility of starting isn’t that much pressure because of the bond I have with the team already. The change of pace (from high school) is hard, but playing with AAU I always played up ahead of my age group. But just having to transition from high school to college, I think I’m adjusting pretty well.”
What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels have plenty of weapons and should be deeper than last year.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Adams’ free throws to put the Tar Heels into triple digits.
UNC vs. Wingate (exh.), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Carson-Newman at Tennessee (exh.), Thursday, 7 p.m.