CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Dec. 8, 2010) - Junior Natalie Pickwell (Kingsport, Tenn.) gave the Tar Heels fits, scoring a career-high 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, but it wasn't enough to carry ETSU past 12th ranked North Carolina as the Lady Bucs fell 87-47 Wednesday night inside Carmichael Arena.
Wednesday marked the final stop of a four-game road swing, and the Lady Bucs - who faced two top-15 teams during this run - are glad to see the stretch come to an end after going winless and falling to 2-5 on the year. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels remained perfect on the year as UNC improved to 9-0.
Joining Pickwell in double figures was freshman Destiny Mitchell (Bluffton, Ga.) as she finished with 10 points, six rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes.
"I was really pleased with our effort in the first half, but I was disappointed with how we didn't continue executing our game plan in the second," said head coach Karen Kemp. "Natalie kept us in the game by hitting some clutch shots, but North Carolina's athleticism took over in the second half. They forced us into too many turnovers and we stopped hitting shots."
Both teams got off to sluggish starts as they combined to miss on 15 of their first 18 shot attempts, but a Pickwell three-pointer and Mitchell lay-in put the Lady Bucs up 5-4 heading into the first media timeout at the 15:39 mark.
Unfortunately, from there, ETSU remained cold and the Tar Heels scored 11 unanswered points to grab a 15-5 lead with 11:36 showing on the clock. The Lady Bucs finally stopped the drought after getting jumpers from Pickwell and Akaycha Robinson (Fort Meade, Fla.), and ETSU cut the deficit to six, 15-9, when Robinson scored her first collegiate points with 10:28 remaining in the half.
Once again the Tar Heels saw their lead soar to 17, 28-11, but just as it looked like North Carolina had a firm grip on things, Pickwell single-handedly kept the Lady Bucs in the contest. The Kingsport, Tenn. native scored 11 of the next 13 points for the Lady Bucs - pulling ETSU within eight, 32-24, after Pickwell knocked down her fourth 3-pointer of the half with four minutes left before intermission. Eventually the Tar Heels took a 39-26 advantage into the locker room.
Pickwell, who tied her career high with 16 points in the opening 20 minutes, recorded six of ETSU's 11 made field goals (39 attempts). Meanwhile, UNC shot 16-of-38 from the field and the Tar Heels had all but one of their ten players reach the scoring column. Despite being outsized, the Lady Bucs held their own on the boards as ETSU was only out-rebounded by one, 26 to 25.
The three-point shot continued to keep the Lady Bucs within striking distance in the opening stages of the second half as Pickwell and junior Gwen Washington (Manassas, Va.) each netted threes, making it 45-32 after Washington sank her first long distance shot of the season at the 16:12 mark.
However, with the Tar Heels leading 47-34, the Lady Bucs went over seven minutes without a point and UNC opened a 39-point lead, 73-34, after Jessica Breland made one of her two free throw attempts with 8:14 remaining.
The Tar Heels led by as many as 43 points (85-42) when Shannon Smith found Laura Broomfield open for a jumper at with two minutes left.
For the game, ETSU shot 27.9 percent (19-68), while the Tar Heels recorded a 46.1 shooting percentage (35-76). Both teams tallied six three-pointers, while UNC out-rebounded the Lady Bucs, 53 to 39.
North Carolina was led by Italee Lucas as she scored 13 points, while Breland recorded 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Bucs now have an 11-day break between action as they take their final exams. ETSU returns to the hardwood on Monday, Dec. 20 when the Blue and Gold take on Campbell. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer basketball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.