Mavunga sends No. 15 UNC over Virginia
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Stephanie Mavunga’s putback layup at the buzzer gave No. 15 North Carolina a 72-70 nail-biting victory over Virginia on Thursday.
Mavunga led North Carolina (23-6, 10-5) with 23 points and eight rebounds.
N’Dea Bryant added 13 points off the bench for her third-straight game in double figures and Brittany Rountree had 10 points in her final regular season game at Carmichael Arena.
Senior Day emotions may have gotten the best of Carolina in the early going as Virginia (16-12, 6-9) scored the first nine points of the game, and led 18-6 on a three-pointer from Faith Randolph.
Once the nerves settled down, Carolina answered with the next 14 points – seven from Mavunga and five from Bryant – to lead 21-18.
Allisha Gray’s first bucket of the night gave UNC its first lead with 8:08 left in the half.
Virginia led by a bucket in the final minute of the first half, but Jessica Washington and Latifah Coleman scored in the final 46 seconds to give the Tar Heels a slim 35-33 lead at halftime.
Washington knocked down a corner three-pointer midway through the second half to put UNC up 61-51.
The lead stood at 70-61 after a bucket from Gray, but North Carolina would go scoreless for the next four minutes, 18 seconds leading up to the game winner from Mavunga.
A left-handed runner from the off-hand of Mikayla Venson tied the game, 70-70, with 21 seconds left, capping a 9-0 run for the Cavaliers.
Holding for the last shot, Gray took a hand-off from Coleman and drove with her left hand to the goal.
Her shot was too strong, but caromed to opposite side of the rim where Mavunga positioned herself for the game’s deciding two points.
Randolph scored a game-high 24 points for the Cavaliers, who became the first team to shoot above 50 percent against the Tar Heels all season long.
However, UNC scored 22 points off the Cavaliers’ 21 turnovers.
Gray scored nine points, snapping a streak of 23 games in double figures.
She also contributed eight rebounds and four assists in a tough 3-for-12 shooting night.
Before the game, North Carolina honored its seniors – Whitney Adams, Megan Buckland, Danielle Butts, Coleman and Rountree – and managers Gabbi Gaje and Hamo Tsang.
Carolina will visit No. 16 Duke on Sunday, tipping off in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 3 p.m.
Both teams will enter the season finale tied for fifth in the league standings with a 10-5 record.
No. 16 Blue Devils Fall on the road at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA, Ga. – The 16th-ranked Duke Blue Devils could not overcome a poor shooting start, falling 71-62 to Georgia Tech in the team’s final road game of the regular season on Thursday.
With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to 19-9 overall and 10-5 in ACC action.
The Blue Devils started the contest with a 4-0 advantage before struggling from the field, hitting just one of their next 16 field goal attempts.
The Yellow Jackets opened up a 25-13 lead in that time and continued to limit Duke on the defensive end.
Freshman Azurá Stevens poured in six consecutive points inside the final four minutes, but the Blue Devils still trailed by a 33-19 margin heading into the locker room at the intermission.
The 19 points at the break marked a season-low output for the Blue Devils in a first half this season.
As a team, Duke shot just 21 percent in the first 20 minutes to a 41 percent shooting effort by Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets’ Kaela Davis paced all scorers with 14 points at the half.
Stevens moved into double figures in the scoring column five minutes into the second period, helping the squad pull within eight at the 11:17 mark.
Duke also displayed improved field goal shooting in the second half, with Greenwell chipping in nine points by the midway point.
However, the Yellow Jackets continued their pace of play, tacking on four second-half 3’s, to remain in the lead.
The Blue Devils were able to cut it to an eight-point deficit at multiple points late in the contest and a three-pointer by Greenwell with 48 seconds remaining pulled the team within seven.
Turnovers plagued the squad in the waning minutes though, and Georgia Tech was able to secure the victory at the free throw line.
Stevens and Greenwell both finished with 16 points and senior Elizabeth Williams turned in her ninth double-double of the year with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Williams also registered five of Duke’s 11 blocks and helped the team outscore the Yellow Jackets in the paint, 42-24.
Davis had a game-high 24 points and was one of four Georgia Tech players to score in double figures.
NC State falls at No. 9 FSU
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The N.C. State Wolfpack (16-12, 7-8) endured a road loss against a tough Florida State squad, falling to the No. 9 Seminoles by a final score of 72-52 on Thursday.
Dominique Wilson led the way offensively for both teams, scoring a game-high 19 points in the loss.
Thursday’s game marked the 23rd time this season when she had scored 10 points or more in a game.
Senior captain Len’Nique Brown scored five points and recorded four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
Freshman center Akela Maize played a season-high 18 minutes in the defeat, notching career highs in points (4), rebounds (6), and blocks (3).
The Wolfpack was held to 17-61 (.279) shooting from the field in the loss, including a mark of 7-30 (.233) from three-point range.
State’s defense was strong, however, limiting the Seminoles to 26-67 (.388) from the field and 7-21 (.333) from distance while also forcing 20 turnovers.
N.C. State continues to deal with the difficulties of playing shorthanded, as through this point in the season 67 combined games have been missed due to injuries and an NCAA ruling on Bosnian freshman center Sara Boric.
Statistically the fourth best rebounding team in the NCAA, Florida State (26-3, 13-2) outrebounded the Pack 54-35 throughout the contest.
The Seminoles were led by a double-double by Brittany Brown (10 points, 12 rebounds) and double-digit scoring from Shakayla Thomas (13 points), Leticia Romero (11), and Adut Bulgak (10).
N.C. State shot 11-of-30 from the field in the first half, a figure which included a 5-of-16 mark from three-point range.
Wilson (8 points on 3-4 FG) and Miah Spencer (8 pts, 2-3 3FG) had strong first halves for the Pack.
Brown and Carlee Schuhmacher found themselves in foul trouble early, each picking up three fouls in an opening stanza which saw 12 N.C. State fouls called compared to five against the Seminoles.
Led by nine points from Thomas, Florida State took a 39-27 lead over the Pack at halftime.
Two Schuhmacher free throws 2:04 into the second half cut the deficit to 11 points – 44-33 – which is as close as State would come in the second half.
The Seminoles would lead by as many as 24 points with 10:35 to play before N.C. State closed the contest by scoring 16 of the final 28 points of the game.
N.C. State will conclude its regular season at home in Reynolds Coliseum against No. 4 Notre Dame on Sunday.
The game will serve as the Wolfpack’s Senior Day with tipoff at 2 p.m.