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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina women’s basketball team bests Demon Deacons 75-71

WINSTON-SALEM — With 4.2 seconds remaining in the first half of North Carolina’s 75-71 win, an expected “Wake Forest” cheer erupted from the Demon Deacon faithful.

Not willing to let the home crowd get the last word, UNC senior Chay Shegog countered, inciting a “Tar Heels” cheer that soon spread through the fans decked out in light blue.

“It’s definitely a good atmosphere to play in,” Shegog said. “Any ACC atmosphere is like that. With the whole Tar Heel chant, the whole Wake Forest thing was throwing me off, so I had to get our team back in it.”

The fierce battle between fan bases was not the only one in Lawrence Joel Coliseum, as the UNC and Wake Forest women’s basketball teams traded leads all afternoon before UNC sealed the win.

Entering the contest, six teams separated Wake Forest and UNC in ACC rankings, but the two teams looked evenly matched in a game that saw 17 lead changes and 11 ties.

Wake Forest got an early jump on UNC, pushing out to a 8-0 lead before Krista Gross gave UNC its first points with just less than 16 minutes remaining in the first half.

“I’m not sure if it was what they were doing, or if it was what we were doing to ourselves,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “They were doubling down some in there on Chay. But we weren’t getting our cuts in our offense and everything. They kept mixing up the defenses. I don’t think we were attacking.

“I think in the last 10 to 12 minutes we started attacking better against their press.”

Both teams shot well, but the difference was in second-chance points. Wake Forest only converted eight second-chance points while the Tar Heels earned 23.

“Their first shots didn’t beat us, but their second shots did,” Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said. “(Laura) Broomfield had (seven) offensive rebounds in the second half. She was a monster in there, and we didn’t do a good enough job of getting her out of there.”

On the day, Broomfield finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds.

It wasn’t until the final three minutes that UNC was able to surge ahead for good, led by junior Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

The guard drove the lane, hit a layup and was fouled with three minutes remaining. Upon seeing her shot drop through the net, Ruffin-Pratt emitted a primal yell.

The release of energy and aggression did not stop there as Ruffin-Pratt added seven points to her career-high 21 points in the final three minutes.

Ruffin-Pratt’s contribution added to UNC’s 11-6 scoring advantage to close out the game.

Shegog was also a source of steady scoring for the Tar Heels, adding 19 points.

In a game that boiled down to fine details, UNC emerged victorious.
“I feel like we played hard tonight,” Petersen said. “But we didn’t play well enough to beat Carolina tonight and that’s the only team that we were playing.

“This was a winnable game against a very good team. At the end of the day, we just needed to make one or two more shots and get one or two more rebounds.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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