Mar. 1, 1998
Box ScoreBy JOE MACENKAAP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina won its fourth Atlantic Coast Conference title in five years Sunday as Chanel Wright powered runs in each half that sent the 10th-ranked Tar Heels to an 81-50 victory over No. 16 Clemson.
Wright scored North Carolina’s first 10 points of the game, giving the Tar Heels a lead they held the rest of the way in winning their second consecutive championship and fifth overall.
Wright, often overshadowed as the second-leading scorer on a team that has three-time ACC scoring champion Tracy Reid, finished with 21 points as North Carolina (24-6) sent Clemson to its most lopsided loss of the season.
The Lady Tigers, bidding for their second title in three years, instead matched their largest losing margin in tournament history. It also was the second-worst loss in ACC championship game history, just one point less than Maryland’s 32-point victory over North Carolina State in 1989.
North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell drew a long stare from Clemson coach Jim Davis when she pulled her starters with 88 seconds left and the Tar Heels up by 31. When Davis approached Hatchell after the game to shake her hand, he repeatedly pointed to the clock as he made what appeared to be animated remarks.
The Tar Heels harassed Clemson (24-7) into 19 turnovers and converted them into 24 points. Most of the damage came in the first half, when the North Carolina scored 14 points off 11 miscues.
Clemson, which shot 29 percent and had four players foul out, got 14 points from Itoro Umoh before she fouled out with 8:43 left. Amy Geren added 13 points.
Reid added 21 points and 11 rebounds, and the Tar Heels also got 12 points from Nikki Teasley.
Wright opened the game by hitting a fast-break layup, and she added a pair of 3-pointers and a foul-line jumper. At that stage, Wright had outscored Clemson 10-4.
The Lady Tigers answered with a 3-pointer from Umoh before North Carolina began gradually pulling away to a 42-30 halftime lead.
A follow shot by Umoh cut North Carolina’s lead to 52-41 with 15:51 remaining before Wright started another run by scoring the next five points. Reid added five points and the Tar Heels stretched their lead to 73-46 with 5:05 left.
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