The No. 24 North Carolina women’s basketball team (21-5, 11-5 ACC) continued conference play on Sunday against the Florida State Seminoles (14-12, 8-8 ACC)in Tallahassee. Sophomore guard Deja Kelly proved her utility all the way around the court, scoring 26 points to lead the Tar Heels to a 64-49 victory.
The first quarter was an even match between the two teams. The matchup started off with a layup from Kelly in the paint followed by a series of three free throws to give the Tar Heels an early 5-0 advantage over the Seminoles. After a quick series of three turnovers in the last four minutes of the first quarter, North Carolina lost offensive momentum and trailed 14-13 at the end of the period.
Kelly gave the lead back to the Tar Heels with a 3-point shot more than three minutes into the second quarter. In a defensive battle, Florida State held North Carolina scoreless for nearly four minutes as the Seminoles the game at 20 late in the second quarter. Graduate guard Carlie Littlefield scored a fast 3-point shot to give UNC the advantage once again, and later posted two more points for the Tar Heels to give them a 25-22 lead.
The third quarter started off with sophomore guard Alyssa Ustby scoring four points in under 30 seconds. Sophomore guard Kennedy Todd-Williams followed Ustby with a quick score in the paint to give the Tar Heels a 31-26 lead. Kelly capitalized off of a foul by Florida State to add two points to UNC’s score, and after a long seven-minute scoring drought, Ustby sank a 3-pointer to help the Tar Heels enter the final quarter with a five-point lead.
After an early foul to start the fourth quarter, Kelly added three points for the Tar Heels from the free throw line. Using a spread out offense, North Carolina was able to pull away thanks to an 11-0 run. Kelly sank a 3-point shot to give UNC the victory with a final score of 64-49.
Who stood out?
Since the start of her sophomore season, Kelly has proven to be a key component of the Tar Heels offense. This victory against Florida State marked her sixth time this season she has scored above 20 points.
Ustby tallied her 12th double-double for this season with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the match. Standing at 6-foot-1, she is able to both put valuable points on the board in back-and-forth games like this and gain possession of the ball for North Carolina with rebounds.
Todd-Williams brought her own offensive element to the game with a total of 10 points against the Seminoles.
When was it decided?
The game was fairly evenly matched between the two teams until the fourth quarter, when the Tar Heels made a huge offensive push and outscored the Seminoles 24-12.
UNC was led by its efficient 56.3 shooting percentage, which bested Florida State's 37.5 percent clip.
Why does it matter?
With this win over the Seminoles, the Tar Heels move to an 11-5 record in the ACC with an overall record of 21-5. North Carolina sits at the fifth spot in the ACC rankings, putting the team at a solid standing before the start of the ACC Tournament on March 2nd.
The win was also head coach Courtney Banghart's 50th win at UNC, and marked the Tar Heels' first road victory against the Seminoles since 2014.
When do they play next?
North Carolina is set to take on Virginia in Charlottesville on Thursday, Feb. 24th at 7 p.m.
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