Tar Heels win in Breland's return to action

Lucas leads scoring with 21

Associated PressNovember 13, 2010 

At times, Jessica Breland looked like her old self, confidently knocking down a turnaround jumper or pulling down a one-handed rebound in traffic. There were also reminders that North Carolina's fifth-year senior will need time to get all the way back after missing last season.

Still, with her Hodgkin's lymphoma in remission, being out on the court again for a real game was a big step.

Breland had eight points and 11 rebounds in her return, and the 15th-ranked Tar Heels beat North Florida 110-41 in the opener for both women's basketball teams Friday.

It was Breland's first official game since a second-round NCAA tournament loss to Purdue in 2009. In this one, the preseason all-ACC pick had 10 rebounds by halftime but finished just 3-for-9 from the field in 21 minutes.

"I feel like I need to get in the gym and shoot right now," she said. "I feel kind of down on myself because in any other game when we start ACC, I can't have like games like this. ... I know my teammates need me and I need to play a lot better game."

Italee Lucas scored 21 points for the Heels, who led 46-19 at halftime and pushed the margin to 72 points in their 10th straight season-opening win.

Behind Breland and Chay Shegog (14 rebounds), UNC also dominated the rebounding 65-33 against the Ospreys of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Breland will need time to knock off the rust.

"She's still getting the cobwebs out," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "At times she's looked really good and the same thing in practice. It'll get there. I don't have any doubt of that."

Lucas made five 3-pointers in leading the Tar Heels. Shegog, She'la White and Waltiea Rolle each had 11 points.

Brittany Kirkland scored 15 to lead North Florida, which is 0-8 against ACC teams.

UNC 110, North Florida 41

North Florida (0-1): Bell 0-3 0-0 0, Kerr 3-6 0-0 8, Jones 2-7 2-3 6, Syquio 1-8 0-0 3, Kirkland 5-13 3-4 15, Baker 1-6 0-0 2, Givens 1-6 0-0 2, Brown 0-7 0-2 0, Peterson 1-3 0-0 3, Merkerson 1-2 0-0 2, Lamar 0-6 0-1 0. Totals 15-67 5-10 41.

North Carolina (1-0): Breland 3-9 2-2 8, Rolle 3-5 5-5 11, DeGraffenreid 1-5 4-4 7, Ruffin-Pratt 1-7 4-4 6, Lucas 8-17 0-0 21, White 4-9 1-2 11, Coleman 1-3 2-2 4, Wood 3-4 0-0 8, Smith 3-3 0-0 9, Shegog 3-7 5-5 11, Gross 2-4 1-3 5, Broomfield 4-7 1-2 9. Totals 36-80 25-29 110.

Halftime--North Carolina 46-19. 3-point goals--North Florida 6-25 (Kerr 2-5, Kirkland 2-7, Peterson 1-2, Syquio 1-3, Givens 0-1, Baker 0-1, Bell 0-2, Brown 0-4), North Carolina 13-23 (Lucas 5-8, Smith 3-3, Wood 2-2, White 2-3, DeGraffenreid 1-3, Gross 0-1, Coleman 0-1, Ruffin-Pratt 0-2). Fouled out--none. Rebounds--North Florida 33 (Jones, Lamar 5), North Carolina 65 (Shegog 14). Assists--North Florida 10 (Baker 3), North Carolina 22 (Lucas 4). Total fouls--North Florida 20, North Carolina 14. A--2,109.

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