by Jacob Swiger
SMITH CENTER/CHAPEL HILL -- The No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels survived a late Miami push to win 90-76 on senior night.
UNC's Rashanda McCants contributed 21 points and routinely slashed to the bucket for easy scores while Cetera DeGraffenreid piled in a career-high 23 points and grabbed seven boards.
"She [DeGraffenreid] was actually sick at halftime in the locker room throwing up," head coach Sylvia Hatchell said.
The Hurricanes kept it close for much of the first half before the Tar Heels pulled away to a 12-point lead at intermission. Epiphany Woodson made four 3-pointers to keep pace with McCants' 11 points in the first half.
Carolina raced out to a 21-point lead with just under 15 minutes to play in the second half with excellent transition play that ignited the crowd. The Tar Heels also limited Woodson to only one attempt from beyond the arc after the break.
But Miami clawed back with a 15-point second half from Lamese James. The Hurricanes began whittling away the Tar Heel lead that stretched to 25 with nine minutes left all the way down to 11 with a minute to play.
During this stretch, Hatchell remained seated on the bench, visibly upset with Carolina's defense and ballhandling as the Tar Heels turned it over 10 times in the second half.
Carolina survived the Miami rally and senior McCants fittingly ended up with the ball in her hands as the last 10 seconds ticked off the clock.
McCants has been a part of a class that has gone undefeated at home in conference play the last two seasons.
UNC travels to Durham for a rematch against Duke Sunday.