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The Daily Tar Heel

Breland leads UNC to first ACC victory

UNC edges out Eagles, 84-83

One point has been the deciding factor in each of the North Carolina women’s basketball team’s last two games, but Sunday against Boston College, the closely contested match went in favor of the Tar Heels.

UNC fell to Georgia Tech 71-70 last week in the Tar Heels’ conference opener, but senior Jessica Breland’s 18 points against the Eagles helped propel North Carolina to an 84-83 victory against the Eagles.

The Tar Heels led Boston College 47-38 at halftime and held a 17-point lead with 16 minutes left in the game. But during the next three and a half minutes, the Eagles outscored North Carolina 12-4.

With just more than three and a half minutes left, a 3-pointer from Boston College’s Kristen Doherty cut UNC’s lead to two. Less than a minute later, guard Kerri Shields followed with yet another three to bring the Eagles within one. Shields hit four 3-pointers in a two-minute span while the Eagles played catch-up.

Breland had the game-winning score with just more than minute and a half left, but with just an 84-81 lead, the Tar Heels walked thin ice for the rest of the game. With 21 seconds to go, senior point guard Cetera DeGraffenreid missed the front end of a one-and-one, and 19 seconds later senior guard Italee Lucas did the same.

Despite the Tar Heels’ missed opportunities to increase the gap, a turnover and missed 3-pointers kept Boston College from coming back. North Carolina eked out its first conference win of the season and improved to 15-1 overall.

In addition to her 18 points and game-winning tip-in, Breland had nine rebounds and three steals. Lucas and DeGraffenreid combined for 27 points, and DeGraffenreid added seven steals.


Prior to Sunday’s win in Chestnut Hill, Mass., the Tar Heels had a successful four-game run during winter break.

UNC closed out 2010 with wins against South Carolina, College of Charleston and Gardner-Webb, beating each opponent by at least 21 points.

In the first game of the new year, the Tar Heels hosted North Carolina Central and beat the Eagles 97-40.

UNC’s 15-game unbeaten streak ended with a loss to Georgia Tech, despite an impressive performance from Lucas, who had a team-leading 21 points in the game.

Lucas had another big game against Gardner-Webb when the 5-foot-8 guard registered 29 points in North Carolina’s 83-62 win. Lucas leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 18.2 points per game.

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