CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Rashanda McCants scored a career-high 17 points and North Carolina (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) set a school record for largest margin of victory by beating North Carolina Central 109-32 on Friday night.
Freshman Cetera DeGraffenreid added 16 points for the Tar Heels, who opened with 15 straight points against the Eagles, who were making their Division I debut.Latoya Bennett, Tonia Roundtree and LaVonna Hailey each scored seven points to lead N.C. Central.North Carolina sparkled behind McCants, who showed an aggressive offensive streak she'd rarely displayed in her first two years here. The younger sister of former North Carolina men's star Rashad McCants scored eight of the Tar Heels' first 15 points in their opening flurry. The Tar Heels' defense also started fast, forcing turnovers on six of N.C. Central's first eight possessions and 21 in the first half to lead 56-16 at the break.It was a welcome sight for the Tar Heels, who are trying to replace All-America point guard Ivory Latta and forward Camille Little, who led the team to two Final Fours and three straight Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles.McCants stripped balls and converted them into fastbreak layups, and tipped in errant shots from her teammates. She was so good inside that Erlana Larkins, the team's leading returning scorer, didn't take a shot until the first possession of the second half.With McCants and the defense playing well, the Tar Heels got good looks at DeGraffenreid and fellow freshman Italee Lucas - two highly touted guards expected to give the program a similar spark as the feisty Latta did. Both had flashy moments and hit teammates with no-look passes for assists, but DeGraffenreid had the more successful debut and ran the offense confidently.The Tar Heels next host No. 12 Arizona State in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic on Sunday.