North Carolina 64, Northeastern 55
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ Juana Brown had two steals and hit back-to-back layups just 15 seconds apart to punctuate North Carolina’s 64-55 win over Northeastern on Friday night in the first round of the women’s NCAA Midwest Regional.
LaQuanda Barksdale had 13 points, while Brown and Chanel Wright each added 12 points for North Carolina (27-7).
Betsy Palecek scored 22 points, including the last 11 points for Northeastern (22-8) in the game. Northeastern had no other players to reach double figures in scoring.
Palecek’s jumper from the left wing gave Northeastern its last lead at 50-48 with 5:59 to play.
Wright responded with two consecutive layups over the next 38 seconds to put North Carolina in front for good.
Then Brown stole an inbounds pass and drove in for one layup and followed that by stealing a pass at the top of Northeastern’s key and taking it all the way in for a 59-51 lead with 1:13 to play.
Barksdale added another layup and the other Tar Heels hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 56 seconds to ice the win.
After a back-and-forth first half, Northeastern took a 27-23 lead at halftime as North Carolina missed its first eight shots from the floor.
The Tar Heels led for the last time in the first half at 21-19 after Brown hit a 3-pointer and a 15-foot jumper. Northeastern closed the first half with an 8-2 run over the last 3:23.