Jan. 8, 2009
Box Score | Box Score
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Rashanda McCants scored 12 of her 17 points in the second half and No. 2 North Carolina improved to 15-0 with an 83-74 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.
It was a shaky way to start the Atlantic Coast Conference season for the defending champion Tar Heels, who watched Clemson (10-5, 1-1) overcome a 12-point deficit to take a 65-54 lead with 5:03 remaining.
But McCants, a senior, and freshman Chey Shegog saved North Carolina, combining to score 13 of the team’s final 19 points.
Heather Claytor put the Tar Heels ahead to stay with her short jumper. Then McCants made two foul shots to extend the lead to 68-65. Shegog put in three straight inside buckets. Still, Clemson pulled to 74-71 on Lele Hardy’s layin with 1:48 left.
But McCants stole the ball from Sthefany Thomas and got fouled on her driving basket. The three-point play made it 77-71 and Clemson couldn’t get any closer.
The Tar Heels have won 13 straight over Clemson and 21 in a row over ACC competition.
North Carolina will have to shore things up if they hope to keep such streaks going. The Tar Heels have difficult league games with North Carolina State and Virginia, then face No. 1 Connecticut on Jan. 19.
Jessica Breland finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Italee Lucas also had a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Bryelle Smith had 17 points to lead Clemson and Whitney Hood added 16.
North Carolina showed the effects of playing just twice in the past 19 days, missing its first three shots and turning the ball over five times in the first four minutes to fall behind 7-2.
The Tar Heels defense kicked in, swarming the Lady Tigers into mistake after mistake. The result was a 19-2 run that gained control for North Carolina.
McCants got the surge going early with two short baskets, while Lucas took over late with 6 points.
When Trinity Bursey put back her own miss, the Tar Heels were up 21-9.
Clemson couldn’t penetrate the Tar Heels’ defense. The Lady Tigers were just 1 of 14 from the field with eight turnovers during the 8 minute stretch.
Guard Tasha Taylor seemed especially bothered, whistled for four traveling calls in the first half.
Clemson shot 25.7 percent from the field for the first 20 minutes. The Tar Heels didn’t far much, 11 of 39 (28.2 percent). However, the Lady Tigers had no answer for McCants and Breland on the inside.
Breland finished 4 of 8 from the floor, all from close by the basket.
Lucas had 8 points and 8 rebounds by the break as North Carolina led 34-25.
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