GREENSBORO, N.C. – The sixth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels posted a 69-65 win over the 11th-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons in their second-round game of the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament played at Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday.
Guard Diamond DeShields scored 17 points and hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:44 left to help the Tar Heels pull away from the Demon Deacons.
It wasn’t the cleanest of games for North Carolina as it struggled from the field, got into foul trouble early, and had to contend with a hot Wake Forest squad early on.
North Carolina (23-8, 10-6) trailed 39-27 at halftime, and coupled with a power outage that made the teams wait 20-plus minutes before resuming play, went on a 16-0 run that allowed DeShields to eventually get the chance to launch her shot at the most critical moment late in the game.
Dearica Hamby scored 29 points and Chelsea Douglas added 20 for the Demon Deacons (15-16, 5-11) who shot shot a sizzling 59 percent by halftime before cooling off and finishing 6-for-23 (26 percent) during the final 20 minutes of play.
“They have two outstanding players,” North Carolina associate head coach Andrew Calder said.
“The one thing I like about what they do, they don’t run an offense; they attack you when you make a mistake. They did a really good job with that”
It was one of the strongest efforts Wake Forest had given North Carolina in having suffered 11 previous consecutive losses to the Tar Heels.
However, it was not meant to be as DeShields’ clutch shooting made the difference in denying an upset.
After Douglas hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining and the Tar Heels leading 67-65, it was also DeShields’ free throws that secured the win.
“We just had to take care of the basketball the second half,” DeShields said.
“The first half we were being careless. We need to trust each other to make big shots and just find the open gap in their defense…We didn’t want to lose. We didn’t want to go home. And I think that was just the main focus.”
Of significant note for the Tar Heels, guard Allisha Gray, the team’s second-leading scorer, hit her head on the court while being fouled late in the first half and did not return for the second half of play.
With the win, North Carolina moved on to the quarter-final round to face the third-seeded Maryland Terrapins on Friday at 8 p.m.