Italee Lucas gets North Carolina rolling early in rout of Gardner-Webb

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. -- Italee Lucas scored 23 of her 29 points in the first half, and No. 10 North Carolina rolled to an 83-62 victory over Gardner-Webb on Friday.

Lucas, a 5-foot-8 senior guard and the team's leading scorer with a 17.9 average, hit five 3-pointers in the first half and went on to finish 10 of 16 from the field, 5 of 6 on 3s.

It was another dominant performance by the Lady Tar Heels (13-0), who pulled out to a 40-18 lead, led 54-32 at halftime and never let Gardner-Webb seriously challenge in the second half.

North Carolina has won by an average margin of 35.5 points this season, second-best in the country. Their closest call has been a 12-point victory over Iowa.

Lucas didn't waste any time getting going. She converted a three-point play just 4 seconds into the game after the Tar Heels won the opening tip, and then she came back on North Carolina's next possession and hit a 3-pointer for a 6-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game.

At one point in the first half, she had outscored Gardner-Webb by herself. Her 3-pointer with 6:04 remaining gave her 19 points for the game and the Tar Heels a 39-18 lead.

The closest Gardner-Webb got in the second half was 60-45.

Chay Shegog had 16 points for North Carolina, while Jessica Breland had 14 points and nine rebounds and Cetera DeGraffenreid had 15 assists.

Monique Hudson had 16 points for Gardner-Webb (8-5), while Jasmine Dale added 11. The Lady Bulldogs' 6-6 center Sandra Vaituke missed the game with an ankle injury. Gardner-Webb had won six of its previous seven games.

North Carolina shot 50.8 percent from the field (31 of 61) and 58.3 percent from 3-point range (7 of 12) but committed 20 turnovers and was outrebounded 43-39.

Gardner-Webb played one other top 10 opponent, falling at Oklahoma 84-75 in late November.