UNC Women’s Basketball handles first road test of 2022-2023 season

The UNC women’s basketball program handled its first true road contest of the 2022-2023 season, as they defeated James Madison on Sunday afternoon.

Playing on the road is not an easy thing, especially when you’re regarded as one of the top teams in the country.

Before a very anticipated matchup with No. 21 Oregon on Thanksgiving, Courtney Banghart and the UNC women’s basketball program traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia to take on James Madison.

Even with some offensive struggles and plenty of foul trouble, the Tar Heels found a way to secure the victory.

North Carolina Tar Heels
James Madison Dukes

The Tar Heels went into the half trailing by four, as junior Alyssa Ustby was the only North Carolina player in double-figures. Other than Ustby’s 12 points on 6-9 shooting, the rest of the team made just five of their 25-shot attempts.

With both Ustby and Kennedy Todd-Williams hampered by foul trouble, it was the duo of Eva Hodgson and Deja Kelly that got the Tar Heels going.

Hodgson scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half, as she made some timely buckets to help the Tar Heels both gain and extend its lead.

Kelly, who missed the team’s last contest out of precaution due to an ankle injury, scored 22 points in the second half en route to a team-high 24 points. She did a lot of her damage at the free throw line, as she made 9 of her 10 attempts from the charity strike.

North Carolina did not have an answer for Kiki Jefferson, who had a season-high 30 points. Other than Jefferson and Peyton McDaniel (who had 17 points of her own), the rest of the team combined for just 18 total points.

You got to give credit to the Tar Heels for their effort in the second half. Especially with Todd-Williams (who fouled out) and Ustby (who sat for most of the fourth quarter with four fouls) being limited, the team stepped up to the occasion to battle back for a very nice early-season victory.

As noted earlier, the next challenge for the UNC women’s basketball program will be in Portland, Oregon, as they will have a Thanksgiving evening matchup with the Ducks as part of the Phil Knight Invitational.

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