The Tar Heels, on the strength of a Juana Brown layup with 0.8 seconds left in the second overtime, outlasted No. 25 Clemson 100-99 Thursday in Carmichael Auditorium.
"The highs in this game aren't nearly high enough to make up for the lows," Clemson coach Jim Davis said. "I'm terribly disheartened."
After a Krystal Scott free throw gave the Lady Tigers a one-point lead with 6.7 seconds left in the second overtime period, Brown took the inbounds pass from LaQuanda Barksdale and raced upcourt.
Clemson's defense reacted slowly to the onrushing Brown, giving her enough space to hit the game-winner, an eight-foot runner off the glass.
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell, whose Tar Heels (13-9, 7-5 in the ACC) were victims at home to Virginia on a last-second shot and Duke in overtime, let out a big sigh of relief in the postgame press conference.
"These close games are fun, but I have a tremendous headache," she said.
She might have been able to win a little more comfortably had North Carolina hit more of its free throws.
The Tar Heels were 16-for-28 from the charity stripe, and Chrystal Baptist hit just 4-of-11 herself. Baptist and Leah Sharp each missed a free throw with less than 40 seconds remaining in the second half that could have put the Tigers away.
"They were making theirs, and we were missing ours," Hatchell said. "We've got to get (Baptist's) foul-shooting better."