9:00 PM ET, November 10, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's three returning starters draw plenty of attention wherever they go.That made for a memorable debut for freshman Jessica Breland.Proving there was more to the No. 2 Tar Heels' lineup than Ivory Latta, Breland had 18 points and 14 rebounds in her first game to lead North Carolina to a season-opening 96-35 rout of East Tennessee State on Friday night."A lot of people were surprised. I was not surprised," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "I know she's capable of playing like she did tonight. It's not a surprise. It's not unnatural for her. This is what she'll probably be able to do very consistently."LaToya Pringle also had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, whose scrambling, high-pressure defense forced 26 turnovers and held the overmatched Bucs without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the first half.Latta, a preseason All-American, had 12 points, Rashanda McCants had 11 and Christina Dewitt added 10 for the Tar Heels.North Carolina led by 63, outrebounded East Tennessee State 71-26 and held the Bucs to 19 percent shooting."I didn't even know I had 18 points, but I know Coach Hatchell was telling me about the rebounding, and I'm proud of that," Breland said.North Carolina returns three double-figure scorers -- Latta, Erlana Larkins and Camille Little -- from the team that reached No. 1 for the first time in school history and reached the Final Four for just the second time ever, but lost in the national semifinals to eventual champion Maryland.The Tar Heels -- who went 32-0 against the rest of the nation but 1-2 against the Terrapins -- made it their goal this season to avenge those losses and build for another deep run in the NCAA Tournament."We have a new attitude -- we're going to get it, no matter what game it is," Latta said. "So we're going toi play hard and go get it."They certainly got off to an encouraging start against outclassed East Tennessee State, and they were led by two players who weren't instrumental in last year's success -- Breland and Pringle, who was making her second career start.Not that East Tennessee State coach Karen Kemp was caught by surprise by their emergence."I expect that from the starters to the entire bench," Kemp said. "You can't be the No. 2 team in the country by having two players. You've got to have an entire team. In practice you've got to have five, seven people who can make the starters better. They have the total package."And they proved it during a dominant first half. North Carolina never trailed and nearly turned the half into one long spurt.The Tar Heels outscored the Bucs 42-6 during the final 13:27 of the half, shot 43 percent and held East Tennessee State to 20 percent shooting and 2-of-16 shooting from 3-point range.During one stretch, North Carolina scored 16 consecutive points and East Tennessee State went 9:37 between field goals.Michelle Devault led East Tennessee State with 13 points.The Tar Heels led 53-16 at halftime and went on to improve to 10-0 all-time against East Tennessee State.