Blue Devils, Tar Heels, Wolfpack return victorious

RALEIGH, N.C. – All three Triangle-area women’s basketball teams returned home with winning records during the recent Thanksgiving holiday stretch of their schedules.

The second-ranked Duke Blue Devils (8-0) along with the 18th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (6-2) and NC State Wolfpack (8-1) came away from their warmer-temp locations with a combined 7-2 record over four days of play.

Blue Devils become Paradise Jam division champs

Returning from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and led by a game-high 19 points from Tricia Liston and 17 points from Elizabeth Williams, the Blue Devils claimed the Island Division Championship on Saturday with a 73-40 win over the Kansas Jayhawks to close out their schedule of play in the 2013 Paradise Jam.

For her performance in leading the Blue Devils in scoring over three games – averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and one assist per game – Liston was named MVP while Williams earned All-Tournament team recognition.

Up next: Duke hosts the 16th-rankded Purdue Boilermakers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. as part of the the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Tar Heels finish strong in Cancun

Freshman Stephanie Mavunga finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead North Carolina to an 87-51 win over the Illinois Illini at the Cancun Challenge played at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday.

The Tar Heels finished the tournament with a 2-1 record as Mavunga and fellow freshman Diamond DeShields ended up on the All-Tournament team as she averaged 18-plus points per game, while Mavunga recorded a pair of double-doubles.

Up next: The Tar Heels host the 15th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers in their ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup that will take place at Carmichael Arena on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Wolfpack returns 2-1 from Florida

The Wolfpack never trailed en route to topping the UCLA Bruins 67-49 on Sunday to finish their participation in the 2013 Gulf Coast Showcase with a 2-1 record.

The Wolfpack’s 54-percent shooting performance (26-48) and strong rebounding (30-18) contributed the win over its PAC-12 opponent and second straight win to end the tournament.

Freshman guard Miah Spencer tied a career high with 14 points and was one of three players to score 10-plus points in the game as Krystal Barrett and Markeisha Gatling each chipped in 10 points apiece to propel NC State’s offense in the win.

Up next: The Wolfpack goes back on the road to tip off against the Northwestern Wildcats as a part of their participation in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge that will take place in Evanston, Ill. on Thursday.