No. 16 North Carolina 68, NC State 58

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt matched her career high with 24 points to

help No. 16 North Carolina beat North Carolina State 68-58 on

Sunday.

Fellow senior Waltiea Rolle added 21 points and 11 rebounds for

the Tar Heels (25-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who beat

their nearby rival for the 23rd time in 27 meetings. Ruffin-Pratt

and Rolle both came up big during a 7-0 spurt that finally helped

North Carolina build a cushion against the Wolfpack (13-15, 5-11),

though the Tar Heels had to fight to the final minute to secure the

win.

Marissa Kastanek scored 17 to lead the Wolfpack, who led by six

early after halftime and trailed 54-53 with 6 minutes left before

UNC’s decisive spurt.

Even then, N.C. State had chances only to come up empty on three

straight possessions with the shot to make it a one-possession game

and finished just 8-for-15 shooting free throws.

With UNC protecting its one-point lead, Ruffin-Pratt started the

7-0 run by penetrating and finding Rolle for a layup. Then, after a

turnover, Megan Buckland found a trailing Rolle for a layup that

came despite Wolfpack guard Len’Nique Brown hanging on the 6-foot-6

center’s left arm.

Ruffin-Pratt followed that three-point play with a confident

pull-up jumper in the paint at the 5-minute mark that made it

61-53, a margin that wouldn’t get closer than five again. N.C.

State managed just one field goal in the last 7 minutes of the

game.

Ruffin-Pratt finished 9 for 17 from the field to go with three

assists and three steals in 32 minutes. Rolle went 7 for 14 from

the field and had three blocks in 31 minutes.

North Carolina shot just 39 percent (25 of 64), including a

3-for-18 stretch over 14 minutes spanning halftime as the Wolfpack

pushed ahead, and missed all nine 3-point tries. But the Tar Heels

forced 31 turnovers and converted them into 31 points to offset

their own shaky shooting as well as N.C. State’s 44-39 rebounding

advantage.

The Wolfpack, who led 33-32 at halftime, and shot 38 percent (23

of 60) for the game.

N.C. State played without junior guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman,

who is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the

team.