No. 13 Tar Heels top No. 20 Wolfpack 79-70

Cheryl Treworgy - TSN via
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The 13th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels took round one of their two-game Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) series with the 20th-ranked NC State Wolfpack as they walked off their home court at Carmichael Arena with a 79-70 win on Thursday.

In the 97th edition of the two teams’ all-time series, it was guard Diamond DeShields who contributed a game-high 21 points and led the Tar Heels to win their fifth straight game against the Wolfpack.

Forward Xylina McDaniel (21 points, 3 rebounds) and guard Jessica Washington (10 points, 2 assists) led the rest of North Carolina’s scorers as they outdistanced themselves from NC State by converting more successfully from the field throughout the game – shooting 51 percent to the Wolfpack’s 39 percent.

Coming into the game having beaten two ranked opponents in LSU and Syracuse, the Wolfpack had eyes on adding the Tar Heels to the list and took an early 10-point lead, 19-9, during the first 10 minutes of play.

North Carolina countered with a 26-8 run during the final eight minutes to establish a significant 45-29 lead at halftime.

While the Tar Heels extended their lead to as many as 17 points in the second half, NC State fought back and cut their deficit down to as few as five points on separate occasions.

However, the Wolfpack couldn’t get closer for the rest of the game, even while outscoring UNC with strong efforts from Markeisha Gatling (18 points, 8 rebounds), Kody Burke (16 points, 8 rebounds), Myisha Goodwin-Coleman (14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals), and Krystal Barrett (11 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists).

With the win, North Carolina extended its record to 13-3 (1-1 ACC) while handing NC State (14-2, 1-1 ACC) its first loss in nine games.

New to the two teams’ storied rivalry, DeShields was appreciative of the opportunity to help lead her team to a big conference win over the Wolfpack.

“I’m still growing into the rivalry, I think that’s going to come with time, but for my teammates it was a big win for them so it was good to see them fill with a sign of relief on their face and coach too,” Deshields said.

“Just to know that Coach Hatchell is at home watching and I know she wanted that win for us. So it was good and I think it’s going to come as I continue to play in this conference and I continue to get big wins.”