The thirteenth-ranked North Carolina women’s basketball remains undefeated after beating the No. 23 UCLA Bruins 84-68 Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena. With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 2-0 on the season.
The Bruins have now dropped to 0-2 this season and are now 4-5 against the Tar Heels all-time.
After scoring 30 points against UCLA almost a year ago today, Allisha Gray still continues to shine on the court and once again, led her team in scoring with 19 points and 6 rebounds.
“She had 30 against us last year so you would think we might have learned our lesson,” Bruin head coach Cori Close says. “It’s a credit to her, she’s a really good player and she can do a lot of different things to hurt you. You can’t just take away Gray’s three-point shot; she exposes any other weaknesses in your defense.”
Gray has been UNC’s leading scorer in every game so far, including exhibition play.
The Tar Heels tipped off the contest with a 2-0 advantage, caused by an administrative technical on the Bruins.
Those free throws were shot by senior Brittany Rountree, who had a fantastic shooting night, scoring four three-pointers and shooting 5-6 from the free-throw line.
Perimeter shots from Gray, freshman Jamie Cherry, and sophomore Jessica Washington gave the Heels the shot consistency they’ve been waiting for to pick apart the Bruins’ zone defense.
Carolina began to pull away early in the first half when Washington nailed a big shot assisted by Megan Buckland. UNC then regained possession of the ball and quickly in-bounded for a score from Hillary Summers to set the score at 20-12.
UCLA was led on the attack by Nirra Fields, who scored a total 21 points and shot 8-24 from the field.
The Bruins went on an 11-3 run to close the gap and end the half at a 45-40 Carolina lead.
Mavunga and Gray both checked out of the game after receiving their fourth foul apiece in consecutive plays, but missing their preseason All-ACC selections didn’t slow the Tar Heels down one bit. They continued on an 8-0 run to put themselves up 20 with a 66-46 lead.
UCLA outrebounded UNC and was able to battle back and come within 8 points of the Heels with just under seven minutes to play, but Carolina coasted past the Bruins to extend the lead and seal the win.
Xylina McDaniel also made a strong contribution for Carolina with her 16-point and 8-rebound performance, alongside Washington and Cherry, who both netted 10 points apiece.
Carolina will play its third consecutive home game against No. 21 Oklahoma State on Wednesday. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL.