CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Deja Kelly scored 20 points to lead No. 7 North Carolina past USC Upstate 89-47 on Friday night.
Kelly shot 8 of 11 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds as the Tar Heels (9-1) won their third straight game. Eva Hodgson added 16 points, four assists and four steals and Paulina Paris chipped in a season-best 15 points.
The Spartans (3-7) were led by Trinity Johnson’s 13 points and five steals.
USC Upstate kept the score close early, trailing just 10-8 midway through the first quarter. But then the Tar Heels closed the opening period on a 15-4 run to take a double-digit lead into the second. Kelly had eight points and two assists during that stretch.
The Tar Heels went on to lead by 32 points in the third quarter, following a 17-8 run. Hodgson scored seven points in the third on 3-for-3 shooting.
Key for the Tar Heels in the win was their sharp shooting. UNC made 60.7% of its field goals for its best single-game mark of the season.
North Carolina: For the third straight season, the Tar Heels went unbeaten at home in non-conference play. They won Friday by shooting well, crashing the boards hard and leaning on Kelly, their dynamic playmaker. It was Kelly’s third game of the season in which she had scored at least 20 points. She and the Tar Heels found success inside, outscoring the Spartans 48-12 in the paint.
USC Upstate: The Spartans entered the game having won two straight, but were simply no match for UNC. The disparity in size and skill was apparent on the glass, where the Heels outrebounded the Spartans 42-25. While UNC returned four starters from last season, USC Upstate reloaded its roster with eight transfers and four freshmen. The Spartans should get the chance to build some chemistry when Big South play begins.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels will face No. 19 Michigan at the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte on Tuesday.
USC Upstate: Back at home, the Spartans host Queens on Tuesday.