by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State will host archrival UNC tonight in another one of those contests where, like the old cliché says, you can throw out all the records.
For No. 11 UNC (15-1, 3-0 ACC), which came into the season with a big chip on its shoulder after not playing in the post-season in 2012 and was unranked to start the campaign, it’s a chance to take one more step toward the nation’s Top 10.
For the Wolfpack (8-7, 0-3), it’s a chance to jump-start its fortunes in the ACC. Kellie Harper’s club has suffered two
State has beaten the Tar Heels at least once in two of the past three seasons. And it’s the last home game against the team from Chapel Hill for senior guard Marissa Kastanek.
This will be the ACC’s first women’s basketball game shown live on YouTube.
And it turns out to be a great one, with the Tar Heels winning it in the last minute and prevailing 70-66 for Coach Sylvia Hatchell’s 895th career victory.
The Wolfpack leads 31-28 at the break behind 12 from Kody Burke and 10 from Kastanek, while Waltiea Rolle has 10 for the Tar Heels.
State takes it to 40-30 with 15:37 left on a Markeisha Gatling layup, but the Tar Heels score the next seven straight ending on Danielle Butts’ layup from Krista Gross at 14:32.
UNC takes the lead for good on the game’s 14th lead change, a jumper from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt to make it 60-58 with 2:28 to go.
Brittany Rountree hits six of seven free throws over the final 44 seconds to seal the outcome, the last two following a Wolfpack turnover after Kastanek’s catch-and-shoot 3-pointer cuts it to 68-66 with 20 seconds left.
Rountree leads the Tar Heels with 17 points, followed by Rolle with 16 and McDaniel with 11 despite an evening of foul troubles.
Kastanek leads all scorers with 20, her four 3-pointers giving her 202 for her career. Burke chips in 17 points, Myisha Goodwin-Coleman 13 and Gatling 10.
UNC shoots 40.9 percent to the Wolfpack’s 40.0. State wins the rebound battle 43-37, but commits 23 turnovers to 14 for UNC.
They said it …
Hatchell: “It was a typical Carolina-State game. We knew it was going to be a battle because State plays exceptionally well. I think they out-hustled us for about 30 of the 40 minutes, but then we got things going. This is pretty much how we’ve been all year.”
Harper: “This was a good game to watch. It’s a rivalry game with both teams playing hard and being competitive. Obviously we were disappointed we weren’t able to finish that game off and get a win. They got some steals that led to some easy baskets, and those are buckets you just can’t give up.”
Rountree: “I just knew I was going to get to the free-throw line. I had a better second half than a first because I really wanted to win this game.”
Kastanek: “It’s just like Coach (Harper) tells us. People who fail quit right before they’re about to succeed, and I think quitting right now would be the worst thing for this basketball team.”
What does it all mean?