No. 10 UNC women fall to No. 8 Maryland, 79-70

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2014 at 5:11 pm •  Published: January 5, 2014
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — So much for Stephanie Mavunga and No. 10 North Carolina's talented freshman class easing into ACC play.

The Tar Heels forward got a rough initiation into the league from reigning player of the year Alyssa Thomas and the rest of No. 8 Maryland's powerful front line in a 79-70 loss on Sunday.

"I learned that I need to take my time," Mavunga said. "Sometimes I just throw it up there. ... Just because it's close doesn't mean that I can't miss it."

Mavunga — one of four UNC freshman starters making their conference debuts — scored 15 points to lead the Tar Heels (12-3, 0-1 ACC), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Latifah Coleman had 13 points and freshman Diamond DeShields finished with 12.

"I was nervous a little bit before the game because it's the first ACC game as a freshman and it's something new," Mavunga said. "It's good to have it already over with now, because now you know it's not like a first time the next time."

DeShields, the team's leading scorer who missed the James Madison win three days earlier with a left hand injury, was 3 of 13 from the field while playing with a wrap on her hand.

"Every player gets nicked up. Something you have to play through," DeShields said. "I was a little timid at first but I started to let it go. There's nothing to be worried about. ... It'll be fine."

Thomas gave Maryland a strong start to its farewell tour through the ACC, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

"For our seniors, it's our last year in general but this being (Maryland's) last year in the ACC, we want to go out with a bang," Thomas said.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 16 points while Katie Rutan had 14 points and four 3-pointers.

Thomas — a two-time ACC player of the year — polished off her 13th consecutive double-double to help the Terps (13-1, 1-0) win their 11th straight.

"I thought, obviously, A.T. was A.T," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of Thomas.

Big Ten-bound Maryland led for all but about 90 seconds of this one but let much of an 18-point lead slip away before holding on to win its toughest test since a 72-55 loss to No. 1 Connecticut two months ago.

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