McCants scores 19 as UNC ends conference road skid

BOSTON -- After a sluggish start No. 10 North Carolina turned up the tempo and ran away from Boston College.

Rashanda McCants had 19 points and eight rebounds, Cetera DeGraffenreid scored 18 points and the Tar Heels beat the Eagles 92-68 Thursday night.

Italee Lucas scored 16 points and Jessica Breland added 11 points and 10 rebounds to help North Carolina (23-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) snap a three-game conference road losing streak and win for the sixth time in its last seven games overall.

"We tried to heat up our defensive pressure a little bit and get our transition game going a little bit more," Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell said.

The Eagles used a 9-0 run to open an 18-6 lead 6:48 into the game, but the Tar Heels went on a 20-5 run to go ahead, 26-23. BC rallied to take a 34-31 lead with 3:32 left in the half, but Lucas scored the last five points of an 11-0 burst that put her team ahead by eight.

"I felt like we got back in it and got things going a little bit more probably the last 5 or 6 minutes before halftime," Hatchell said, "and then in the second half we were able to keep the pressure on and keep attacking the basket. When we play like that, our athleticism shows."

Stefanie Murphy scored 19 points to lead the Eagles (18-8, 6-5). Carolyn Swords, who came in tops in the nation with 68 percent shooting from the field, was pressured throughout and finished just 2-for-5 with four points -- matching her season-low output.

The game featured a matchup of North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell and first-year BC coach Sylvia Crawley, one of Hatchell's 24 former players now coaching -- but the first to go against her in an ACC game.

"I was very pleased with the way we started the game. I was extremely disappointed with our effort in the second half," said Crawley, who was so upset with her starters she replaced all five early in the second half.

"As soon as the second half started I thought we were flat. We just didn't seem ready," she said. "When things weren't going well we didn't fight back."

Crawley starred for Hatchell on the 1994 North Carolina national championship. Current BC assistant Stephanie Yelton was also a star on that team. Hatchell visited Crawley in her office earlier in the day and also met with Crawley's parents.

"Boston College is very fortunate to have the coaching staff they have. They are so passionate about being here and about this team and the university and the ACC," Hatchell said.

Asked about Hatchell, Crawley said: "I felt like she did us a favor by not scoring 100 points on our court."

There were 49 turnovers in the game -- 25 by North Carolina, which lost starter Iman McFarland to an apparent concussion early.

The game was played on "Pink Zone Night" with BC players wearing pink socks with "Yow" on them in honor of longtime North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, who lost her battle with breast cancer last month. Both teams wore pink T-shirts on the bench and a moment of silence was held before the game.