UNC survives Wake Forest 69-65 in women’s ACC second round

CorrespondentMarch 6, 2014 

— North Carolina had trouble putting the ball in the basket all night against Wake Forest.

But freshman Diamond DeShields and her teammates came up big in the second half. She finished with 15 points as the only player in double figures for the No. 13 Tar Heels in a 69-65 comeback win against Wake Forest in the second round of the ACC women’s basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.

UNC (23-8) advanced to Friday’s 8 p.m. quarterfinal against No. 3 seed Maryland (24-5), which is ranked eighth nationally and playing in its final ACC tournament.

UNC won the regular-season meeting with Wake Forest 83-65 on Jan. 23 at Joel Coliseum, breaking that one open with a flourish in the final minutes.

The Tar Heels won Thursday despite 29 points from the Deacons’ Dearica Hamby. Senior guard Chelsea Douglas added 20 points in her final game for Wake Forest (15-16).

“Wake Forest is well-coached with two outstanding players,” said UNC associate head coach Andrew Calder, still running the bench as coach Sylvia Hatchell has treatment for leukemia. “They attack you if you make a mistake; they do a really good job of that.

“In the second half we did a good job picking up the intensity. We did a good job with our man-to-man defense. We’re champions. I think I may have raised my voice once at halftime.”

UNC lost freshman guard Allisha Gray, who scored eight points, for the rest of the game after she hit her head on the court after a collision with Hamby late in the first half.

Wake Forest led 39-27 at halftime behind 19 points from Hamby and 13 from Douglas, shooting 59 percent over the period to the Tar Heels’ 32.

Hamby had 19 of the Deacons’ first 30 points, but with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left in the half and Wake Forest leading 33-22, she picked up her third foul on a midcourt collision with Gray after which the Tar Heels guard had to be helped off the court. Douglas scored Wake Forest’s final nine points of the half.

The arena lights went dark with 16:19 left in the second half and the Deacons leading 39-34. The game was delayed for 23 minutes while the lights were brought back to full brightness.

That only interrupted a 14-0 run that got the Tar Heels the lead back. Wake Forest responded with a 7-0 run to take a 46-41 lead on a Douglas layup at 12:06. There were seven lead changes in the half, the last on a DeShields 3-pointer with 1:43 left to make it 64-62.

“We didn’t want to lose and go home and that was our main focus,” DeShields said.

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