The 14th-seeded North Carolina women’s basketball team earned itself the right to play at least one more game this season on Wednesday evening in Conway, S.C. The Tar Heels (15-15, 3-13 ACC) beat 11th-seeded Pittsburgh (13-17 4-12 ACC), 72-60, in the first round of the 2017 ACC Women’s Tournament at the HTC Center.
UNC used a hot shooting start to jump out to a 9-3 lead less than three minutes into the game. North Carolina made six of its first seven shots and 9-of-14 total in the first quarter.
Junior guard Jamie Cherry paced the Tar Heels in the period, scoring 14 points on just six shots. Cherry showcased her offensive versatility, hitting step-back jumpers to go along with drives to the basket.
But the Panthers were able to hang with UNC by taking advantage of their size advantage in the paint. At the end of the first quarter, North Carolina held a 24-22 lead.
As the game wore on, Pittsburgh continued to pound the ball inside. The team's forwards were able to outmuscle the Tar Heels’ inexperienced post players down low for easy baskets. In the first half the Panthers outscored UNC 26-12 in the paint.