It just wasn’t North Carolina’s night in the Big Ten/ACC challenge this time.
The Tar Heels came out ice cold Wednesday night while No. 15 Northwestern was sinking 3-pointers at will, and the results weren’t pretty for the home team.
Maggie Lyon had a career-high 31 points and Nia Coffey added 22 with 11 rebounds, helping the Wildcats to an 85-72 victory at Carmichael Arena.
Christen Inman added 16 points and Ashley Deary 12 points with nine rebounds for Northwestern.
“It was a great game – I think we ran out of gas a little bit at the end,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. “We knew Carolina was going to make a run at some point, but other than maybe a three-minute stretch we were able to slow the game. And we took really good shots.”
Xylina McDaniel had a season-high 22 points with nine rebounds for the Tar Heels, and N’Dea Bryant added a season-high 16 points with nine rebounds.
Destinee Walker chipped in 14 points and Stephanie Watts 11.
“Northwestern is a really good team,” UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. “At the beginning of the game I was wondering if they were going to miss a shot. But I was proud of the fact we came back and didn’t quit.”
The Tar Heels did have a great comeback. Northwestern’s largest lead was 28 points during the first half, but they cut it to 79-70 on Bryant’s layup with 2 minutes, 1 second left.
The Wildcats shot 47.2 percent to UNC’s 39.7, but the Tar Heels won the rebound battle 46-37. Both teams committed 18 turnovers.
Northwestern led 52-29 at halftime after shooting 53.7 percent to the Tar Heels’ 31.2. Coffey had 18 points at the break for the Wildcats.
“At the beginning I don’t think we realized how much we coul drive on them,” McDaniel said. “We figured it out a little better in the second half. I guess I used my body on them. We just realized we could drive on them a little too late, and that’s how we would have won the game.”
Notes: The Tar Heels’ next game will be at home Dec. 12 against Appalachian State. Northwestern, which had defeated East Carolina on Saturday at Texas, will host Milwaukee on Sunday.