CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell knew freshman Cetera DeGraffenreid was being overlooked as a potential contributor, but with each game she plays, she's becoming harder to ignore.
DeGraffenreid scored 16 points to lead the Tar Heels (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) to a 77-36 victory over Furman on Sunday."No one except me knew how good this one was going to be," Hatchell said. "I knew she was underrated without a doubt. And she's getting better and better as she shoots those 3-point shots."Freshman Rebecca Gray added 14 points for the Tar Heels (7-0), whose four-game streak of scoring at least 92 points ended.Leading scorer Rashanda McCants did not start because she was late to practice Friday. She finished with eight points and six rebounds.Courtney Opie and Sarah Baker led the Paladins (2-3) with eight points apiece.DeGraffenreid filled in again at point guard for Alex Miller, who sustained a left knee injury Nov. 16 and is likely out for the season. She has also moved ahead of classmate Italee Lucas, who was expected to be the successor to the graduated Ivory Latta."Getting out there and being with the team more and more, you get more comfortable with what everybody's doing and what you're supposed to do," DeGraffenreid said.The Tar Heels opened the game with an 11-2 run that forced Furman coach Sam Dixon to call a timeout.North Carolina built a 42-16 halftime lead.Despite the lopsided margin, Dixon found a few things to be encouraged about, including the fact that North Carolina only had a 47-42 edge in rebounds."The second half, we only had five turnovers against a very good pressing team," Dixon said. "We got 21 offensive rebounds. Those are things you look for in these types of games and you look for how your team is going to compete."