The No. 22 North Carolina women’s basketball team (12-5, 3-3 ACC) bested No. 11 N.C. State (13-5, 3-4 ACC) 56-47 on Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena in its sixth conference matchup of the season.
Despite multiple opportunities for both teams, the game got off to a slow start, remaining scoreless for over two minutes. N.C. State got on the board first, capitalizing on two free throws to gain an early lead. The Tar Heels were able to quickly find a response, with graduate guard Eva Hodgson draining a step-back three to put them ahead of the Wolfpack.
From there, the two teams traded the lead back and forth several times, neither gaining more than a two-point advantage. The quarter closed out with another made 3-pointer from Hodgson off a fast-break turnover to give UNC an 11-9 lead at the 10-minute mark.
The second quarter began at the line for junior guard Deja Kelly, who sank one of her free throws to give North Carolina a three-point lead. N.C. State was immediately able to respond with a layup from center River Baldwin to put them back within one. Junior guard Kennedy Todd-Williams was able to one again stretch the Tar Heel lead to three with an under-the-basket hook, which was followed by an N.C. State turnover. Any forward momentum on behalf of UNC was stymied, however, by the onset of the second media time-out.
After returning to the court, the teams once again traded the lead back and forth, remaining within touching distance of one another for the majority of the period. With just over one minute remaining, the score was tied at 19. Kelly was able to capitalize one more time, sinking a step-back jumper to make the score 21-19 in the Tar Heels' favor at the halfway mark.
N.C. State came out of the gates hot in the second half, immediately scoring on a layup off the hands of guard Madison Hayes to tie the game once more. From there, guard Diamond Johnson was able to sink two back-to-back layups to push NC State ahead by four in the first three minutes of the second period. North Carolina was able to find an answer and bounced the ball out to Hodgson who drained a three with six minutes left on the clock. Junior forward Alyssa Ustby then sank a layup to regain the lead for UNC.
The remainder of the period saw the teams trading evenly matched, and the third quarter ended with N.C. State leading by one, 32-31 after 30 minutes of play.
The final quarter started in a similar fashion to the first three, with the opponents trading baskets. However, a made floater by junior forward Alexandra Zelaya followed in quick succession by a steal from Todd-Williams that she converted into a three-point play gave UNC the forward momentum it needed to get hot.