No. 15 UNC women beat No. 8 Maryland 60-57
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Tierra Ruffin-Pratt briefly let Maryland's best 3-point shooter get away from her. She recovered in time to prevent a sure-thing victory from slipping away.
Ruffin-Pratt scored 13 points and blocked a 3-pointer in the final seconds of No. 15 North Carolina's 60-57 victory over No. 8 Maryland on Thursday night.
Brittany Rountree also had 13 points and Waltiea Rolle added 12 for North Carolina (14-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which blew most of an 11-point second-half lead and was just 1 of 7 from the free-throw line in the final minute but won its seventh straight and first in the series since 2010.
"We're excited because it really shouldn't even have been that close," coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "These guys really played hard, and they really played tough down the stretch."
Alyssa Thomas scored 11 of her 15 points in the final 5½ minutes for Maryland (10-3, 1-1), and her drive with 14 seconds left pulled the Terrapins to 59-57.
"I thought we showed a lot of heart and character in that we never quit," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. "There was a lot of fight in us."
Danielle Butts hit a free throw with 10.9 seconds left for North Carolina. Teammate Krista Gross chased down her miss and was fouled but missed two free throws with 9.3 seconds left to give Maryland one last chance.
The Terps worked the ball to Katie Rutan — who entered with a team-best 20 3s — in the corner, but Ruffin-Pratt soared in to block her 3 into the stands with 1.6 seconds left.
After a timeout, Maryland got the ball to Rutan deep on the right wing, but with Ruffin-Pratt in her face, her 3 attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
"I actually lost (Rutan) at the end on that last block. She ran baseline and I didn't see her, so I just ran as fast as I could and blocked the shot. She got that last 3 up. I was just praying that it didn't go in. I contested it, but she shouldn't have caught it from the beginning."