The North Carolina women’s basketball team finally posted a win after an 0-2 start to the season. The Tar Heels’ win came in the form of a 94-58 blowout against Florida A&M in Carmichael Arena on Tuesday night.
Freshmen dynamic duo Destinee Walker and Stephanie Watts combined for 59 points on the night, contributing 32 and 27 points, respectively.
On Walker and Watts, UNC Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell said she knew her two youngsters were gearing up to break loose.
“You saw tonight why they were both McDonald’s All-Americans and the potential they have with what they did out there. I’m really proud of these two, almost had both of them with 30. It’s really good to win. The other two games we had we could’ve won those, it came down to the end. We’ve been working hard and keeping our heads up and thinking about the good things that we were doing.”
Walker’s 32 points and 10 rebounds provided the guard with her first career double-double. Additionally, Walker, who was ranked 17th in her class by ESPN, was perfect in her 10 free throw attempts and went 10-17 in field goal attempts.
Watts, a Wesley Chapel, N.C. native, went 9-17 from the field and contributed five assists and was also perfect in her four free throw attempts.
Sophomore guard Jamie Cherry, who led the ACC in scoring after the season’s first two games with 24.0 ppg, contributed nine points and led the team in assists with seven. Erika Johnson added nine points and N’Dea Bryant had eight.
The Tar Heels dominated the game from start to finish, ending the first 10 minutes of play with a 30-11 lead, the most points UNC has scored in a period this season. The team entered halftime with a 57-29 lead.
The Tar Heels led throughout, and the largest UNC lead came in the fourth period where the Tar Heels were up by 43 points at 88-45.
Watts credited the building of team chemistry for her and Walker’s increased production.
“Our first two college games I think we just weren’t exactly in the flow of things and now we’re starting to mesh with our team more, so we’re playing well together.”
Walker cited the team’s 21 assists as proof of the team’s development, while Hatchell said her favorite aspect of the game was the team’s free-throw attempts, in which the Tar Heels completed 21 of 22 attempts from the line.
“I think we did a little wrong by Jamie the last two games because it did feel like she had the team on her back, and so I think with us stepping up she didn’t have to do as much and we could all just come together. The chemistry is coming together and we’ll be able to win tough games,” Walker said.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a Friday night 6 o’clock game in Carmichael Arena against Fairleigh Dickinson. Hatchell said the game marks senior forward Xylina McDaniel’s return. McDaniels has been out since her season-ending injury against Elon on December 21 of last year.
“She’s been cleared, she practiced yesterday. She warmed up tonight and she’ll be back out there this weekend. This is the Naismith Hall of Fame Classic and we got three really good teams coming in this weekend that we’re going to be playing, so we’re going to be looking forward to that.”