by Mike Potter
JOEL COLISEUM/WINSTON-SALEM UNC hasn't been in this position in 10 years in women's basketball.
But tonight, the Tar Heels (16-8, 4-6 ACC) are trying to break a five-game losing streak.
It's the only meeting of the regular season against a decent Wake Forest team (15-10, 6-5) which doesn't like Carolina Blue very much and would love to continue the misery.
Sylvia Hatchell's club has won six straight in the series and is in dire need of a win tonight. And the Tar Heels survive, trailing most of the game before escaping with a 65-59 overtime win.
The Deacons come out much faster, as Secily Ray is simply on fire. Wake leads by as much as 30-14 on her 3-pointer with 10:20 left in the first half, holding on for a 33-25 advantage at the break after Italee Lucas' 3-pointer for the Tar Heels in the closing seconds.
Wake shoots 40 percent in the first half to UNC's 37.0.
It's still 39-29 following a Ray free throw with 13:51 left before the Tar Heel offense wakes up.
Cetera DeGraffenreid (pictured) hits a 3-pointer at 13:23, beginning an 11-1 run during which she hits nine points and ties it on a pair of free throws with 7:54 to go.
The Tar Heels lead 50-47 after Lucas hits the first of two free throws with 4:18 to go. But the Deacs keep coming, going on a 9-2 run to make it 56-52 on a Brooke Thomas free throw at 1:18.
Waltiea Rolle scores on a layup from DeGraffenreid with 1:04 to play. DeGraffenreid then gets her ninth rebound of the game when Sandra Garcia misses in the lane, and hits the tying bucket by driving through traffic for a layup with 7.1 showing.
Thomas misses a jumper from the free-throw stripe in the closing seconds and Lucas rebounds to send it to the extra period.
And those five minutes are all Carolina.
Cierra Robertson-Warren hits a jumper at 4:14, Lucas a layup on an inbounds play from DeGraffenreid at 3:49 and Robertson-Warren a short hook shot at 3:15 for the Tar Heels' biggest lead of the game.
Courteney Morris hits a 3-pointer for the Deacons with 56.5 left in the extra period, but Robertson-Warren hits the first of two free throws at 9.1 to clinch it and Lucas a pair at 0.6 for the final score.
DeGraffenreid leads the Tar Heels with 15 points, followed by Lucas with 14 and Robertson-Warren 11.
Ray paces Wake with 23 points, followed by Morris with 12 and Brittany Waters 11. Garcia has seven points to go with 10 rebounds.
UNC ends up shooting 37.7 percent to 29.4 for the Deacons and wins the rebound battle 52-45. Wake turns the ball over 18 times to UNC's 19.
They said it ...
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: "It feels good to win one. I'm really pleased we were able to come back the way we did. We showed a lot of good things defensively as well as offensively. Our goals were to win the boards and hold them under 40 percent shooting, and we were able to do that. "
Wake coach Mike Petersen: "I thought we played hard, and battled. They just did a better job in the overtime. We did a good job defensively. They're averaging what, 74-75 points a game and we held them to 56 in regulation. Secily was a real warrior tonight. "
DeGraffenreid: "It's a really good feeling to win. We knew we could do it all along. I know everybody is tired right now, because we played really hard."
Ray: "This was a really tough game to lose. But all we can do now is move on and try to win the next one."
What does it all mean?
That the Tar Heels improved their chances for an NCAA berth while the Deacons need to string together some wins to say the same.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Lucas' layup from DeGraffenreid with 3:49 left in overtime.
UNC leads 56-12.
UNC: Won 1.
WFU: Lost 1.
UNC vs. N.C. State, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Wake vs. N.C. Central, Monday, 7 p.m.