Italee Lucas, above, who is from Las Vegas.
Lucas enjoyed an impressive homecoming with 24 points and 8 rebounds.
I wondered how good the No. 4 Tar Heels would be this season with the loss of Rashanda McCants to graduation and the likely loss of Jessica Breland for the season as she fights leukemia.
The Runnin' Rebels may not be a very strong team, but Carolina looked as entertaining and impressive at times in a 78-68 victory. Coach Sylvia Hatchell still has the Heels pressing and pushing the ball up the court and they have the quickness and speed to pull it off. Added to that, she has good size.
Whenever UNLV didn't hustle back on defense, the Heels made them pay.
I'm not so sure that the Carolina men would want to get into a 3-point shooting contest against the women's team. Boy, can they shoot. The Heels made 6 of 9 3-point attempts in in the first half and seven for the game, getting four from Lucas and two from Cetera DeGraffenreid , who runs the show from the point impressively.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, right, who showed a nice mid-range jumper and good all-around game with 8 points and 11 rebounds and 2 assists.
As with many other Hatchell teams, this one pushes the ball up so quickly that the turnovers will pile up and she really doesn't seem to mind if it means the tempo is what she seeks. DeGraffenreid had a 3-to-4 assist to turnover ratio and the Heels had more turnovers (18) than assists (13).
Some of the turnovers, though, were of the careless half-court variety that have really plagued the men's team so far this season.
Carolina still has plenty to work on if it is going to be a national-title contender. I say plenty of work because to win the title, you've got to beat UConn. To beat the Huskies, you really can't have any flaws. But the talent certainly is there and the Heels certainly should win the ACC. UNC really has to play better defense against the tougher teams on its schedule, though.
I see that Al Wood now has two daughters on the team. Martina is a senior, although she still doesn't appear to be getting much playing time, and Candace is a freshman who didn't play Sunday.