The eleventh-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels added another win to their perfect record in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play, by posting a 71-60 win over the Virginia Cavaliers in front of 1,628 in attendance at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Thursday.
Forward Xylina McDaniel led all scorers with 15 points and 9 rebounds with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (14 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists) and Waltiea Rolle (14 points, 4 rebounds) providing the offensive boost to push North Carolina’s record to 6-0 in conference play and 18-1 overall.
Leading the conference in steals (14.9 spg) coming into the matchup with the Cavaliers, North Carolina’s defense held Virginia to a 37 percent shooting average and capitalized on 14 steals and 24 turnovers to establish a 44-22 lead by halftime.
Riding out the wave
In playing their starters for a good majority of the game and finishing with a 42 percent shooting performance, the Tar Heels lapsed only slightly during the second half after extending the lead to as many as 27 points.
Supporting efforts from Megan Buckland (9 points, 2 rebounds), who finished with a 3-for-7 performance beyond the arc, Brittany Rountree (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Danielle Butts (8 points, 4 rebounds) all provided the ample cushion that North Carolina needed to secure the win.
Virginia, led by Telia McCall (13 points, 8 rebounds) and Kelsey Wolfe (13 points, 4 rebounds), played hard to narrow North Carolina’s lead, particularly during the final three minutes of the game, trailing 71-52.
However, even with the Cavaliers finishing the game on an 8-0 run and outscoring the Tar Heels 38-29 during the second half, it was not enough.
With the win, North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell (897 career wins) inched closer to earning the famed 900-win mark, needing only three more victories to reach the peak that only former coaches Pat Summitt (Tennessee) and Jody Conradt (Texas) have reached to date.
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