Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm / Updated at 12:48 am
basketball
No. 18 Tar Heels shut down No. 15 Huskers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Jordan Hooper apparently liked shooting inside North Carolina’s historic Carmichael Arena during warmups. And after she nailed a trio of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of No. 15 Nebraska’s 75-62 loss to the No. 18 Tar Heels on Wednesday night, she liked it even more.

Roughly seven minutes later, when Hooper picked up her second foul, her hot hand took a cooling seat on the bench. A 23-22 NU lead turned into a 14-2 North Carolina run.

“It made me so mad going to the bench, but it was my fault for fouling,” Hooper said on the postgame radio show. “It was stupid fouls. ... I was really, really frustrated when that happened. I finally make some shots and decide to foul.”

Though coach Connie Yori reinserted Hooper into the game late in the first half, the damage had been done as the Tar Heels kept the Huskers at bay the rest of the night. In front of 1,534, North Carolina stayed undefeated at home in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. NU fell to 0-3 in the event.

“Some of those kids who play big minutes for us have to stay out of foul trouble,” Yori said. “We’ve talked to them about that. We’ve just got to do a better job than that.”

Yori was not asked how seriously she considered leaving Hooper on the floor when she got her second foul at the 8:28 mark. The senior from Alliance did not pick up another foul in the game, and according to statistics on the Huskers’ website, Hooper has never fouled out of a game in her career.

At any rate, Nebraska (6-2) struggled to score without Hooper and couldn’t consistently stop the fast, athletic Tar Heels (7-2), who boast several top freshmen on their roster. That group didn’t necessarily bowl over the Huskers.

But North Carolina’s super sophomore did.

Xylina McDaniel — the daughter of former NBA star Xavier McDaniel — scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Hooper said McDaniel was the best post player she faced this year. UNC supplemented McDaniel by forcing 21 turnovers on 13 steals. The Tar Heels shot 56.5 percent inside the arc, in part thanks to 13 offensive rebounds.

“They were really, really fast — really good at finding the open person when they needed to,” Hooper said. “And they could finish. You can tell they’ve practiced those weird-looking shots in practice.”

North Carolina led 40-30 at halftime.

“I didn’t think we played with nearly enough toughness in the first half,” Yori said. “In the second half, I thought we competed really hard.”

The Huskers cut their deficit to 42-36 on Hooper’s jumper with 17:21 left. UNC called a timeout, and McDaniel answered with a jumper 15 seconds later. Nebraska couldn’t close the gap after that.

Hooper finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Rachel Theriot scored 12, Tear’a Laudermill had 11 and Hailie Sample added 10. NU’s second-leading scorer, forward Emily Cady, scored six points on three shots. Yori took the blame for not creating more opportunities for the junior from Seward.

Again, NU’s bench contributed little — five points and five rebounds in 42 minutes. Freshman center Allie Havers committed four turnovers and two fouls.

“This was a learning lesson for some of our kids, especially some of our younger kids,” Yori said. “Allie has to give us good minutes, and she got the ball taken away from her a lot today. That’s a learning curve. It’s hard for you to come in here as a freshman and expect to be perfect.”

Nebraska (6-2) ................ 30 32—62
At North Carolina (7-2) .... 40 35—75

NU: Sample 3-7 4-4 10, Cady 2-3 2-2 6, Hooper 7-19 0-0 18, Laudermill 4-12 2-2 11, Theriot 4-10 4-4 12, Jeffery 2-4 0-0 5, Havers 0-0 0-0 0, Murren 0-1 0-0 0, Simon 0-0 0-0 0, Tvrdy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-56 12-12 62.
UNC: McDaniel 11-15 2-5 25, Mavunga 4-7 0-1 8, Gray 5-9 2-3 14, Rountree 2-6 0-0 6, Washington 3-6 1-2 7, Coleman 0-2 0-0 0, DeShields 5-15 0-0 11, Bryant 1-2 0-0 2, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Butts 1-2 0-0 2, Summers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-66 5-11 75.
3-point goals: NU 6-21 (Hooper 4-10, Jeffery 1-3, Laudermill 1-4, Murren 0-1, Theriot 0-3), UNC 6-20 (Gray 2-4, Rountree 2-6, McDaniel 1-3, DeShields 1-3, Mavunga 0-1, Washington 0-3). Fouled out: none. Rebounds: NU 33 (Hooper 9), UNC 40 (Mavunga 11). Assists: NU 10 (Theriot 5), UNC 17 (Coleman 5). Total fouls: NU 15, UNC 17. A: 1,534.

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>> Video: See highlights from the Nebraska-North Carolina game:

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