DeShields entered the game having made only 14 of 58 3-point attempts all season. But she went 4 for 8 from long range against the Tigers.
She showed no signs of being bothered by a heavy wrap protecting a broken bone in her left hand.
"It's actually helped me," DeShields said. "When I broke my hand, I started shooting better. It's my guide hand, and I guess before I broke it that I was incorporating this hand into my shot, which was not allowing the ball to go in the right path. Now, it's not even touching the ball barely."
While DeShields sparked North Carolina's offense, Clemson sputtered. The Tigers went 8½ minutes late in the first half with just one field goal.
It was a drastic change from the beginning, when Clemson shot 6 of 7 from the field to race out to a 13-2 lead.
But Dixon, who had seven points during the quick start, picked up her second foul less than five minutes into the game.
With Dixon on the bench, the Tar Heels got two layups from Mavunga as part of a 9-0 run to climb back into the game.