UNC bounces Maryland from ACC 73-70

CorrespondentMarch 7, 2014 

— So long, Terps.

Freshman Diamond DeShields scored 22 points, and Brittany Rountree hit what proved to be the clinching free throws with 16 seconds left Friday night, giving North Carolina a 73-70 win over Maryland in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.

No. 6 seed and 13th-ranked UNC (24-8) advanced to Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal against No. 2 seed and 10th-ranked Duke. UNC won both regular-season meetings with the Blue Devils.

No. 3 seed and 8th-ranked Maryland had won the teams’ regular-season meeting 79-70 on Jan. 5 in Chapel Hill, but this was the Tar Heels’ night.

Freshman Allisha Gray added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels, one night after she hit her head on the floor in a mid-court collision and missed the second half of the Wake Forest game. Xylina McDaniel chipped in 10 points for UNC.

“It was an outstanding job by Carolina on the defensive end,” said UNC associate head coach Andrew Calder, who has handled bench duties all season for Sylvia Hatchell as the head coach undergoes treatment for leukemia. “You see Diamond DeShields taking advantage of her skills in the post. And going 16-for-20 at the free-throw line was big. We had great intensity and effort.”

Alyssa Thomas led Maryland (24-6), which will get an NCAA bid, with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Lexie Brown added 10 points for the Terps.

“We fought all the way to the buzzer,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “If you had told me we would have a shot (on a Thomas 3-point attempt in the closing seconds) after the way Carolina came at us, so aggressive – we were back on our heels. We were fighting the second half to come back.”

UNC shot 40.6 percent to Maryland’s 44.4 and was outrebounded 43-36. But Maryland hit only one 3-pointer all night and committed 19 turnovers to the Tar Heels’ 15.

“I just sat out for precautionary reasons last night,” Gray said of her head knock. “I’m fine.

“Once I get a couple of stops on defense, my offense develops. I just play my role, play defense and shoot when I’m open.”

UNC led 37-26 at halftime behind 10 points from DeShields. Thomas had eight points and eight rebounds at the half for the Terps.

“I was guarding Alyssa and she’s an extremely powerful player,” DeShields said. “My thoughts were just to stay strong. She’s a great player and has put in a lot of hard work.” It was a challenge for me and I was ready for it. She had a great game, but I was trying my hardest.

“I was extremely proud of Allisha tonight. All day we’d been talking to each other and saying ‘We’re going to get buckets tonight.’ All day long I was telling her, ‘I’ve got you. I’ve got you.’ 

The Tar Heels shot 41.2 percent over the first 20 minutes to the Terps’ 35.5, hitting four 3-pointers to none for Maryland.

Maryland had 25 rebounds to UNC’s 17 before the break, but had committed 14 turnovers to the Tar Heels’ six.

Maryland never led in the second half. The Terps cut the lead to 71-70 on a Thomas bucket with 1:36 left before Rountree’s free throws forced Maryland to try the 3-pointer at the end.

No. 2 Notre Dame 83, Florida State 57: Jewell Loyd scored 17 points to lead No. 2 Notre Dame past Florida State 83-57 on Friday in the Irish’s ACC tournament debut. Kayla McBride added 13 for the top-seeded Fighting Irish (30-0), who ran off 21 straight points in the first half to turn the game into a rout.

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