GREENSBORO – Georgia Tech never makes it easy.
The North Carolina women's basketball team found out again in today's first quarterfinal game at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro.
This time, after falling to the Yellow Jackets 56-54 on Feb. 12, the Tar Heels came prepared for another physical contest that came down to the two teams trading buckets late.
And again the Yellow Jackets emerged with the win, pulling out a 54-53 victory as the Tar Heels tried to score in the final seconds.
A layup by Georgia Tech sophomore Tyaunna Marshall gave the Yellow Jackets a lead with one minute, 35 seconds left. Marshall's basket would be enough as her team tried furiously to keep the Tar Heels from scoring.
In the end, UNC freshman Brittany Rountree had one final look – her deep 3-pointer hitting the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The Tar Heels rallied in the second half, actually pulling ahead on a 13-2 run. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored a layup for a 49-47 lead with five minutes, two seconds, then senior guard She'la White followed inside with a baby hook for a four-point lead.
Yet that lead wouldn't hold against a Georgia Tech team that found opportunity where it looked as though little was there. The Yellow Jackets advance to the semifinals of the tournament on Saturday.
The Tar Heels go home and now must await a decision by the NCAA tournam
ent committee on whether they have earned a bid after an inconsistent season.
Pressing full-court, the Yellow Jackets pushed and nudged their opponents, working for a 31-25 halftime lead.
While outrebounded by the Tar Heels, the Yellow Jackets forced 16 turnovers and converted them into 11 points.
Marshall had 10 points, four assists and two steals at the break and finished with a game-high 21 points.
Senior forward Sasha Goodlett picked up her third foul with 6:05 left in the first half. Still, the Yellow Jackets kept finding players to pick up the slack, with Mo Bennett coming off the bench to add nine points.
North Carolina's She'la White and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored six points in the first half, while senior center Chay Shegog grabbed eight rebounds.