7:00 PM ET, November 16, 2007
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina senior point guard Alex Miller knew she was seriously injured when team trainers carefully turned her over on the court."My knee! My knee!" Miller moaned, about a minute after her left knee appeared to buckle on an uncontested layup late in North Carolina's 92-63 victory over Coppin State on Friday night."The doctors haven't said anything official yet, but she may be lost for the season," coach Sylvia Hatchell said shortly after Miller was taken from the training room at Carmichael Auditorium to UNC Hospitals for further examination.Miller was the most experienced guard available in North Carolina's preseason plans to replace all-ACC guard Ivory Latta.Hatchell was already in a foul mood before Miller went down.North Carolina (4-0) outshot the Eagles and had a 25-17 advantage in turnovers, but got outrebounded 20-17 in the first half. Much of Hatchell's halftime talk consisted of her just reading the stat sheet to her Tar Heels (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP)."She was upset," LaToya Pringle said. "She was upset with our intensity and the way we played."All of North Carolina's double-digit scoring came from players 6-foot-1 or taller.Pringle added 15 and Rashanda McCants 13 points for North Carolina (4-0) in the Women's National Invitational championship. Breland, who wears braces, left the game late in the second half after cutting the inside of her mouth.Coppin State (2-2) got a game-high 30 points from guard Rashida Suber. Jennifer Martin added 12 and point guard Shalamar Oakley 11."My shot was falling," Suber said. "They put one of their bigger people (McCants) on me, so I had to work to get around her and create something."The score was 60-50 before Eagles point guard Shalamar Oakley picked up her fourth foul on a charge. Coppin State then turned the ball over in nine of its next 10 possessions while North Carolina blew open the game on a 24-3 run.After sitting for almost 4 minutes, Oakley played only 18 seconds more before fouling out."It might have been a different game if Shalamar could have stayed in the game," Coppin State coach Derek Brown said. "We did an admirable job with the players we had out there. At the end of the game we were just fatigued, and their size overwhelmed us."The Tar Heels out-rebounded Coppin State 47-31, led by Erlana Larkins with 10. But Coppin State, with only one player taller than 6-0, outrebounded the Tar Heels 20-17 in the first half."I was embarrassed by the first half," Hatchell said.Suber brought the Eagles to 17-15 with 13:52 left in the first half, but Coppin State turned the ball over in six of its next 10 possessions.Breland scored 10 points in a 16-3 North Carolina run, capped by a 3-pointer by Heather Claytor that put North Carolina on top 33-18 with 9:12 left in the half.Coppin State rallied by hitting eight of its last 10 shots in the first half. Suber scored seven of the Eagles last 11 points before halftime."She can really shoot," McCants said.Syracuse plays Coppin State Saturday in the three-day Women's National Invitational Championship, and host North Carolina faces Syracuse on Sunday.
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