No. 11 North Carolina 70, NC State 66
Brittany Rountree scored 17 points, including two free throws with 12.5 seconds left, to help No. 11 North Carolina beat North Carolina State 70-66 on Thursday night.
Waltiea Rolle added 16 points for the Tar Heels (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who rallied from 10 down early in the second half to beat the Wolfpack for the 22nd time in 26 meetings. That includes five of the last seven in N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum, where the Wolfpack followed a tough loss against highly ranked Duke last week with another disappointing finish against a nearby league rival.
Marissa Kastanek scored 20 points for the Wolfpack (8-8, 0-4), while Kody Burke added 17 points and eight rebounds. N.C. State shot 40 percent, hit nine 3-pointers and outrebounded the Tar Heels, but finished with 23 turnovers that the Tar Heels converted into 24 points - 14 of those coming after halftime.
North Carolina has won nine straight games since a lopsided loss at Tennessee on Dec. 2. The last three of those, including one against No. 10 Maryland, have come by a combined 10 points against league opponents in the past week.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt knocked down the go-ahead jumper from the left elbow to make it 60-58 with 2:25 to play, then Rountree scored a layup off a turnover by Kastanek to push the lead to 62-59. After a pair of free throws from Kastanek, the Tar Heels finally got some cushion when Danielle Butts scored on a stickback with 1:02 left and Rountree followed with two free throws that made it 66-61 with 43.8 seconds left.
Kastanek hit a 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds left to pull the Wolfpack within 68-66, and then N.C. State had a chance to tie when Rountree missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the line. But after grabbing the rebound, N.C. State center Markeisha Gatling threw the outlet pass out of bounds to give it right back to UNC with 14 seconds left.
Rountree then added the final two free throws to make it a two-possession game again for the final margin.
The Wolfpack lost to then-No. 3 Duke here last week by 10 and looked ready to snap the Tar Heels' streak when they ran off seven straight points to open the second half and take a 38-28 lead. But the Tar Heels rallied to tie it with 12 1/2 minutes left. From there, neither team led by more than a basket until UNC finally seized some control in the final 45 seconds.