by Mike Potter
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC opens its season with high expectations and plenty of new faces.
Today’s contest against Gardner-Webb will be the Tar Heels’ first in five seasons without any of last year’s seniors — Jessica Breland, Cetera DeGraffenreid and Italee Lucas — on the floor.
Shegog and Broomfield will start today’s contest along with lightning senior point guard She’la White, junior wing Krista Gross and freshman wing Megan Buckland, who led Kernersville Bishop McGuinness to three straight state 1-A championships.
It will be the third meeting with the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and the Tar Heels haven’t had any trouble winning in the past.
They don’t today either, as they run away with a 109-44 rout.
Gardner-Webb leads 5-4 on a Jasmine Dale 3-pointer, but UNC responds with a 14-5 run and the lead gets bigger throughout.
It’s 62-26 at halftime, then 66-28 before the Tar Heels go on an 18-0 streak to make the score silly.
Shegog ties her career high with 19 points and adds 10 rebounds while Broomfield chips in 15 points and 14 boards as the Tar heels win their 51st straight game in the month of November.
Buckland finishes with 17 points, while freshman wing Danielle Butts came off the bench for 12 with nine rebounds.
Every one of the 10 healthy Tar Heels plays and scores at least seven points.
Catrina Green and KiKi Smith hit 10 points each for Gardner-Webb.
UNC shoots 46.2 percent to the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ 24.3, outrebounds them 62-40 and commits 19 turnovers to the visitors’ 33.
They said it …
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “We’ve got some kids that can shoot the ball. But the big girls were running the floor hard and that makes a big difference. We know our opponents have to work to try to keep them from getting easy scores, and our guards are good at passing and shooting and driving.”
GWU coach Rick Reeves: “We graduated 54 points out of 67. Maybe I made a mistake in not playing an exhibition game. I still feel like we’ve got a pretty good team but we didn’t play like it today. I told them they’ve been waiting to play in a game like this all their lives, and asked them why they were afraid. I’m not used to getting beat like this.”
Shegog: “Broom and I stayed down here all summer working with (strength coach Jason Beaulieu). He’s a big reason for our conditioning. Our guards put a lot of pressure on their guards today, which made it easier to get steals.”
Broomfield: “I don’t want to say I was surprised, but I was really happy with the energy the freshmen came in with. Chay is always consistent. I’m just excited about the year and how we’re going to do.”
What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels are as ready as they can be at this point, while Gardner-Webb has a lot of work to do to compete with a Top 20 team.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Butts’ three-point play to make it 45-21 with 5:21 left in the first half.
UNC vs. USC-Upstate, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Gardner-Webb vs. Kennesaw State, Tuesday, 7 p.m.