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The Daily Tar Heel

Brittany Rountree drains 7 from deep against Clemson

GREENSBORO — Though listed as a freshman, Brittany Rountree took the hardwood like a veteran in fifth-seeded North Carolina’s 90-51 win against 12th seeded Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament.

Rountree ignited the Tar Heels from behind the arc, making seven of 10 attempts and leading all scorers with 21 points.

“She got really hot. She got really hot on the outside, shooting 3s and we kept losing her in our zone,” Clemson coach Itoro Coleman said.

The seven triples tied the ACC tournament single-game record for 3-pointers. But that wasn’t the only record Rountree set, as she also exceeded her previous career high of five 3-pointers, matched Sunday in the loss to Duke.

Her seven 3-pointers was a considerably better mark than the lone long-range bucket UNC made in the first meeting against Clemson.

“I’ve just been in the gym working on my form,” Rountree said. “And when I get the ball, I shoot.”

Clemson’s zone gave the guard a lot of open looks in the first half, and instead of passing up the opportunity, she made them pay.

Rountree nailed four 3-pointers in the first half.

Nothing garnered more cheers from the exuberant crowd of elementary school children filling the coliseum than Rountree’s long-distance buckets. The shots not only brought momentum to the crowd, but propelled the Tar Heels to the team’s largest ACC tournament thrashing.

“(A 3-pointer) brings momentum and gets me ready for the next shot,” Rountree said.

Since joining the Tar Heels, Rountree, who scored 14 second-half points in UNC’s second matchup with Duke, has been steadily improving. But in the last two weeks, she has matured at an exponential rate.

“Brittany (Rountree) is a great shooter,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “And she played well against Duke on Sunday and then of course she did again today as well.”

Hatchell said the game was about earning respect for some of the overlooked players, such as Rountree.

But after turning in back-to-back high-octane and high-scoring games, she’s difficult to ignore.

Though Rountree’s accolades include being ACC player of the week twice and a member of the ACC-All Freshman team, she hopes to add one more achievement to that list.

“I believe we’re ready to come out and compete because we’ve learned from our mistakes,” Rountree said in a pre-game interview. “I think we can win the whole thing.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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