North Carolina reserves restore order in rout of Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell sent a message by going to her bench.

After watching Virginia go on a run that trimmed the No. 2 Tar Heels' lead to a mere 18 points in the second half, Hatchell substituted five reserves. They restored order and the chastised starters returned to finish off the Cavaliers 96-62 on Monday night.

"Our play wasn't what I wanted it to be at the start of the second half, so I substituted those five," Hatchell said. "A 20-point lead against Virginia is nothing."

After the Cavaliers' 10-2 run, Hatchell sent in Trinity Bursey, Alex Miller, Heather Claytor, Iman McFarland and Jessica Breland. The reserves stretched the lead to 59-35 on two free throws by Miller with 14:14 to play.

"She warned us, and then she did it," starter LaToya Pringle said of the 3:21 she and the four other starters spent on the bench.

Erlana Larkins and Camille Little scored 17 points apiece to lead North Carolina (18-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) to its 10th straight win over Virginia (10-5, 3-0). Ivory Latta hit four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Pringle chipped in 11.

Hatchell was displeased by North Carolina's 34-of-92 shooting (41 percent), especially a 16-of-48 second half.

"It was like the rim monster was out there," Hatchell said. "We missed a lot of good shots."

The Tar Heels scored 29 points off 32 Virginia turnovers. Larkins had 13 rebounds and Pringle 11 to help North Carolina dominate the boards 59-48 and outscore the Cavaliers 19-10 off offensive rebounds.

"Rebounding is always critical against Carolina," Virginia's Debbie Ryan said. "The whole inside game was bothersome for us tonight."

North Carolina jumped out to a 15-0 lead. Larkins scored 13 points in the first half and North Carolina led 51-25 at the break. Virginia missed its first nine shots and didn't score until Monica Wright hit a 3-pointer with 14:06 left in the first half.

"We missed layups. We missed free throws," Ryan said. "And every point in the first half was so important. "If we could have kept it closer in the first half, it would have been a completely different ball game."

Lyndra Littles had 19 points to lead Virginia. Wright added 17 points.

Wright keyed the Virginia run to start the second half that got the Cavaliers within 53-35, but they missed their next five shots, committed three turnovers within 4 minutes, and Virginia never again got closer than 63-43 midway through the second half.

"We knew what we were looking for in the second half, and our energy was better," Ryan said. "We just kept making terrible decisions and turning over the ball."

North Carolina's game Thursday at Clemson will be its fourth ACC contest in nine days.

"I'd rather play than practice," Hatchell said. "I think the players would, too. These games will be good for us and help us get ready for Connecticut next Monday."