4:00 PM ET, December 30, 2004
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Ivory Latta wasn't able to avoid a couple of quick peeks at the crowd and North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton.
She might have finally one-upped her friendly rival with a dazzling performance Thursday, scoring 19 of her 24 points in the second half to help North Carolina (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) beat Old Dominion 79-55.
Latta wants to surpass Felton's school record for 18 assists in a game set last season.
"I'm going to try to get him with those 18 assists," she said with a smile.
Erlana Larkins added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels (11-1), who won their fourth in a row after a loss at Penn State. For the first time this season, Larkins failed to make at least half of her shots and finished 5-for-11.
She came in shooting a nation-leading 71 percent from the field.
"I think I was just rushing my shots," Larkins said. "I just felt like I missed a lot of easy shots."
The game was moved to the Dean E. Smith Center because several game day staff were in Charlotte, N.C., for North Carolina's appearance in the Continental Tire Bowl. Felton and the men's team played later against Cleveland State.
A sparse but enthusiastic crowd of 1,112 took advantage of free admission and free parking to watch the Tar Heels avenge a 73-68 loss to the Lady Monarchs last season.
"Our goal was to outrebound them, because they had outrebounded all of their opponents this season,
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We accomplished that, especially with Erlana getting 14. I thought that was a good team effort."
The rematch wasn't nearly as close, mostly thanks to Latta. She made five consecutive shots during a five-minute stretch of the second half to help North Carolina take control.
Latta made a jumper, added a 3-pointer, then drove in for a layup after a nifty pass from Nikita Bell. Later, Latta got fouled on a 3 and converted all three free throws before connecting again from long range to make it 58-35.
"Really, coming out, I wasn't really thinking about shooting," Latta said. "Coach just told me to keep putting pressure on the defense."
She left for a rest after her personal run of 16 points in eight minutes, but the damage already was done. Old Dominion (4-4) never got closer and still is looking for its first road victory of the season to complement a 21-game home winning streak.
Tiffany Green led the Monarchs with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and leading scorer Shareese Grant finished with only six, more than 12 off her average. She fouled out with about five minutes left.
"The pressure was tough," Grant said. "Before every game, I know every team is going to come out and do that. We've got to look forward to it. We didn't handle it very well."
The Tar Heels led by only seven after a sloppy first half during which the teams combined for 29 turnovers. It didn't get much better for the Monarchs after the break. After making only 29 percent of their shots in the opening 20 minutes, they shot 30 percent and had another 12 turnovers.
"You're not going to beat a lot of teams with 28 turnovers and shooting 30 percent, let alone Carolina," Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry said. "They've just got tremendous athletic ability."