Triangle Sports Roundup: UNC, Duke, N.C. State earn tournament wins

Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network

Orin Day, Triangle Sports Network

Tar Heels outlast Gonzaga for HOF Challenge win

UNCASVILLE, CONN. – The North Carolina Tar Heels returned home after claiming a 67-62 victory over Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday.

Destinee Walker led all scorers with 17 points, her eighth double figure scoring game this season.

Double-digit finishes from Jamie Cherry (14 points), Xylina McDaniel (13 points), and a double-double performance from Hillary Summers (11 points and 10 rebounds) helped secure the win for North Carolina (5-3).

Eleven UNC turnovers during the opening quarter allowed the Bulldogs to grab an early 11-5 advantage, but the Tar Heels clawed their way back to trail by just two, 12-10 after 10 minutes.

North Carolina eventually led 30-24 at the half.

Walker scored five points in the third and pushed the Tar Heels lead to 42-39.

The Bulldogs posted six of the last eight points of the period and held a slim 45-44 lead to start the fourth quarter.

McDaniel eventually dropped a three-pointer and put the Tar Heels ahead for good with under a minute to play.

She iced the victory with two free throws with less than 10 seconds to play.

North Carolina next prepares to host the No. 19 Northwestern Wildcats in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Carmichael Arena on Wednesday.

Blue Devils return from Cancun as Mayan Tournament champs

RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO – The 15th-ranked Duke Blue Devils closed out the Cancun Challenge with an 85-34 victory over Texas State to take home the Mayan Tournament championship at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday.

Forward Azurá Stevens scored a game-high 19 points and was named MVP of the tournament, while guard Rebecca Greenwell was selected to the Mayan All-Tournament team.

Including Stevens and Greenwell, a total of 11 scorers led Duke which improved its overall record to 6-1 on the season, while Texas State dropped to 2-4.

The Blue Devils won all three contests in the Cancun Challenge, that also included victories over Idaho and Iowa State, by an average of 32 points while shooting 52 percent from the field.

Against Texas State, the Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and didn’t let up, finishing the opening quarter on an 11-0 run and holding a 27-7 advantage.

Stevens paced the squad with a game-high 11 points at the break as Duke compiled an 18-0 run early in the second to finish with its largest halftime lead of the season.

The Duke defense limited Texas State to only four second-quarter points and led 49-11.

The Bobcats scored 13 points in the third quarter, as Duke increased its margin to 69-24.

Freshman guard Haley Gorecki registered a double-digit scoring finish for the second straight game, ending with 11 points fueled by three 3-pointers.

Fellow rookie guard Angela Salvadores came off the bench and totaled a career-high eight assists, nine points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.

The Blue Devils finished the game shooting a season-high 59 percent from the field and scored back-to-back games with 85 or more points for the first time this year.

Duke returned home and now prepares to host the Minnesota Golden Golphers in their ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup that will tip at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

N.C. State tops UAB 67-56 in Cancun Challenge

CANCUN, MEXICO The N.C. State Wolfpack posted a wire-to-wire 67-56 win over the UAB Blazers on Friday in their second game of the Cancun Challenge.

Guard Miah Spencer led the Wolfpack (6-1) with nine points, a career-high 11 rebounds, five assists, and four steals, while 16 points from Dominique Wilson and 11 points from Jennifer Mathurin supported the win.

N.C. State shot 41 percent from the field, and eventually held a 58-38 lead with 7:23 remaining.

While the Blazers cut down their deficit to 10 points, 66-56, with under a minute remaining, it was not enough to overcome the Wolfpack’s lead which never dropped below double digits after the opening quarter.

N.C. State now prepares for its upcoming ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup that will take place at Nebraska on Thursday.