by Mike Potter
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC tries to take yet another step toward a prestigious early-season title tonight.
UNC won the title in its only other appearance, that coming in 2008. The Tar Heels lead the series with the Hoyas 1-0, but the visitors are familiar with the arena after having won one game before losing to Georgia Tech in the NCAA subregional in March.
Georgetown has a new coach in Keith Brown and an All-America candidate in Sugar Rodgers, who poured in 35 in a six-point second-round win over Delaware.
UNC leads for the final 38 minutes, rolling to a 63-48 victory.
The Tar Heels get off to a good start, leading 14-4 on a layup from Waltiea Rolle at 11:33. But the Hoyas — led by 11 first-half points from Rodgers — come back to trail only 26-22 at the break.
Rolle has seven at the half for UNC, which shoots 36 percent to Georgetown’s 20.5. The Tar Heels lead the rebound battle 31-22 but commit 21 turnovers to Georgetown’s 10 in the half.
Brittany Rountree leads UNC with 22 points including six 3-pointers, while Megan Buckland comes off the bench for 13 points including three 3-pointers. Rolle chips in 10 points. Freshman Xylina McDaniel has 10 rebounds to go with seven points, and Krista Gross finishes with 15 rebounds and two points.
Rodgers leads the Hoyas with 22 points on 6-for-24 shooting, while Andrea White chips in 11.
The Tar Heels shoot 37.3 percent to Georgetown’s 23.5 and win the rebound battle 53-42. UNC commits 35 turnovers to the Hoyas’ 20.
They said it …
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “Our defense is way ahead of our offense, and tonight we played some really good defense. We did a lot of combination stuff out there — it was switching and traps and we went zone with some different looks and some things. That was really good. They only scored one field goal the first 11 minutes of the game. I don’t know what the record is, but I don’t know if we’ve had that many turnovers. Georgetown is ranked, so I’m hoping we’re going to be ranked.”
Rountree: “We moved the ball around well. I have good coaches and good teammates that keep encouraging me to shoot and they kept looking for me. They couldn’t stop both me and Megan at the same time. ”
UNC guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt: “Six-for-24 (from Rodgers) looks pretty good to me. We put a lot of emphasis on her, knowing where she was on the court at all times. We were double-teaming her when she caught the ball and keeping her in front of us. It was a good defensive night for us.”
What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels are playing for a championship.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Rountree’s 3-pointer to make it 31-24 at 18:48.
UNC: Won 3.
Georgetown: Lost 1.
UNC at Iowa in WNIT Final, Sunday, 4 p.m.
Georgetown vs. LSU, Monday, 7 p.m.