2:00 PM ET, December 10, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Sick and tired, No. 2 North Carolina appeared to sleepwalk through much of its 87-58 win Sunday over Western Carolina.Even so, Rashanda McCants, who twisted her left ankle four days ago, tied her career high with 16 points."We've got people sick, we're studying for term exams, it's been cold. We're all just a little off," McCants said, her left ankle iced after the game.Ivory Latta scored 19 points to lead four Tar Heels in double figures. Erlana Larkins added 13 and Camille Little 12 points for North Carolina (10-0)."She (McCants) shot well, really well from the three-point line," said Western Carolina's Lauren Powell, a teammate of McCants's at Asheville High School when it won three state championships. "She's really improved on that since high school."McCants and Latta each hit three of their four 3-point tries. McCants hit her first five shots, including two 3-pointers, and had 13 points by halftime."It was open, so I took it," McCants said. "My teammates kept giving me the ball, so I had to take that shot."Kendra Eaton came off the bench, hit three straight shots and ended up with a career-high 15 points to lead Western Carolina (5-5).Powell had 13 points for the Catamounts and Ashley Pellom posted 12 points to go with a career-high six steals.North Carolina forced its first nine opponents into an average of 30 turnovers a game. But the Catamounts only coughed up 20 and the Tar Heels barely outscored Western Carolina off turnovers, 16-14."Defensively, we just didn't get after it like we normally do," Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "But that's typical of exam time."North Carolina out-rebounded the Catamounts 47-38, and outscored Western Carolina 39-23 from the paint.The Tar Heels had similar success from 3-point range (8-of-17) as from inside the arc (27-of-53).The Catamounts shot 23-of-67 overall and hit just two of their 18 3-point tries."A lot of that has to do with North Carolina's defense," Western Carolina coach Kellie Harper said. "Whenever you get an open shot against North Carolina, you tend to rush the shot."North Carolina hit seven of its last 10 shots of the first half and closed with a 19-4 run to lead 48-25 at the break.Latta opened the second half with a 3-pointer and the Tar Heels hit seven of their first eight shots after halftime.Western Carolina went on an 8-0 run midway through the second half but never got closer than 68-41.