Ruffin-Pratt, Tar Heels survive and advance past pesky Eagles | Sports

Ruffin-Pratt, Tar Heels survive and advance past pesky Eagles

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GREENSBORO COLISEUM UNC comes into the ACC Women’s Tournament with a pretty tough assignment.

UNC guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
The No. 3 seed Tar Heels (26-5) have trounced No. 11 seed Boston College (12-18) — which blew past Virginia in the first round — by 28 points in each of their first two meetings.

But the teams seeded No. 8 and below have all overperformed so far in the tournament, and BC is on a two-game winning streak.

It almost goes to three, but Tierra Ruffin-Pratt pulls the Tar Heels together in the closing minutes of a 62-57 win.

UNC leads 25-23 at halftime, but never really pulls away. Neither team ever leads by more than eight, and the Tar Heels’ biggest margin of the second half is seven points.

With the clock running down in the final minute, the Tar Heels run a play for Ruffin-Pratt to drive the lane and hit a jumper to make it 60-55 with 39 seconds to go.

She adds a pair of free throws 18 seconds later, and a jumper from the Eagles’ Kerri Shields completes the scoring with 5.4 to go.

Ruffin-Pratt finishes with 19 points while Waltiea Rolle adds 10 with nine rebounds and Krista Gross nine with eight boards.

Nicole Boudreau paces BC with 15 points followed by Shields with 14 and Tessah Holt 12.

The Tar Heels shoot 41.5 percent to BC’s 30.5, win the rebound battle 44-39 and commit 21 turnovers to the Eagles’ 17.

They said it …

UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “We survived. They say at this time of year you survive and move on. I don’t want to take anything away from Boston College, but it’s hard when you play a team the third time and you’ve played real well the first two. We didn’t start with the right mentality. They (BC) can shoot ‘threes’ (10-for-25), and we had to stay out on the shooters. Lots of times the team that plays on Thursday has an advantage in the first half and I knew they’d give us a good game.”

BC coach Erik Johnson: “It wasn’t the prettiest basketball game you’ve ever watched, but that was by design. (UNC) plays hard and physical and strong. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt can lower her shoulder and get by us and get the foul. For us to show the kind of fight we did tonight, I’m just so proud of our team.”

Ruffin-Pratt: “That (clinching bucket) is kind of one of our plays we run with a low shot clock. It’s something we’ve been doing all season. It’s just that sometimes the shot goes in. It was either going in or I was getting fouled.”

Gross: “We just do a good job of staying together. We’ve got good chemistry going on and we trust each other. That’s what it comes down to. When the shot clock is running down and we’re running baseline, I trust (Ruffin-Pratt) to make shots and hit foul shots.”

What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels assure they won’t have a bad loss to foul up their NCAA seed.

Stars of the game
1. Ruffin-Pratt.
2. Boudreau.
3. Rolle.

Play of the game
Ruffin-Pratt’s jumper with 39 seconds left to make it 60-55.

Streaks
UNC: Won 1.
BC: Lost 1.

Series
UNC leads 9-1.

Up next

UNC vs. Maryland, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
BC in 2013-14 season opener.

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