UNC Wilmington women’s basketball continued to win with the Trask Coliseum advantage it has found this year under coach Karen Barefoot in its 89-63 win over NC Central on Sunday afternoon.
The Seahawks (5-3) briefly trailed early before finding a rhythm that put the Eagles (2-4) away for good, outscoring them in every quarter.
The Seahawks scored their fifth consecutive home win to open the season against the Eagles. That is the longest home winning streak in 10 seasons, last occurring when the 2007-08 UNCW team won its first six games at home.
Winning on the road has eluded them thus far, but the Seahawks will have a couple chances to capture their first win away from Trask in the next couple weeks. After being off the upcoming week due to exams, the Seahawks will travel to face Pitt next Saturday.
“We’ve been tough on the road,” said Barefoot. “We need to do a good job from the beginning to the end making sure we set and own the tempo. That’s what we did today.”
They won’t be in Trask again until Dec. 21 against Georgia State, so getting a road win now will help alleviate concerns as the Seahawks enter Colonial Athletic Association play towards the end of the month.
It’s going down, I’m yelling Timber
Sophomore guard Timber Tate jumpstarted the Seahawks from the opening tipoff with a pair of deep three-pointers, followed by a backdoor pass to senior guard Madison Raque. Tate ended the game with 20 points, a career-high total for the second consecutive game after scoring 16 points against VCU on Wednesday.
“When she commits to the defensive end, she gets her leg loose,” said Barefoot. “They don’t guard her; she’s going to knock it down.”
It is no secret Tate is at her best when her jump shot is falling. Her six three-pointers were another career high and even more impressive was needing just eight attempts to get them to fall.
“My confidence has improved tremendously. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” said Tate. “They keep telling me to shoot, keep encouraging me. I’ve tried to do other things, not play too fast, stay poised.”
Combined with the VCU game, Tate has shot 10-for-14 from beyond the arc over her past 60 minutes. Before those two games, she was 9-for-38 this year from three.
This week may be a turning point for Tate and, subsequently, for this UNCW team if she continues to connect from range.
DeGraaf does it again
After being limited to eight points in 22 minutes because of foul trouble last Wednesday, senior Jenny DeGraaf returned to double-digit scoring with 11 points to go with seven rebounds.
Point blank: DeGraaf continues to be the Seahawks’ best player, capable of playing both inside and out without sacrificing parts of her game. If there’s a gripe to be had, she could be smarter about staying out of foul trouble (having three or more in four games). When DeGraaf is on the court, she guarantees Barefoot a double-figure scorer and a leading rebounder.
“Everything I’m trying to do is not all-around scoring,” said DeGraaf. “That’s different from what I’ve done in the past. In past years, I’ve just relied on my jump shot. Now I’m starting to attack more.”
Not bad for someone who started eight games a year ago.
Assistant Sports Editor Brandon Sans can be found on Twitter @bsans10. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to [email protected] For video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.