The opponent for the No. 6 seed Tar Heels (23-7) is No. 3 seed Florida State (23-6). The 19th-ranked Tar Heels had one of their better wins of the season in an 84-75 victory over the No. 14 Seminoles on Feb. 2 in Tallahassee.
Both teams are almost certainly headed for the NCAA Tournament regardless of this week’s results in the Gate City.
UNC is flying high after the comfortable first-round win over Clemson, but getting a second win in as many tries this season over the Seminoles is a much tougher assignment.
The Tar Heels pass it with the proverbial flying colors, holding off a second-half run to win 78-65 and advance to Saturday’s semifinal against Miami.
Laura Broomfield has nine points at the break to lead the Tar Heels, while Cierra Bravard’s eight lead FSU.
The Tar Heels take their biggest lead at 41-24 on a Krista Gross jumper with 19:33 left before the Seminoles begin pecking away.
FSU cuts the advantage to 58-57, on a pair of Christian Hunnicutt free throws with 9:28 to go, before the Tar Heels pull away for good.
The final score, coming on a pair of Jessica Breland free throws with :42 showing, is the largest lead after FSU’s rally.
Broomfield paces the Tar Heels with 15 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Italee Lucas with 13 points, Breland with 12 and Cetera DeGraffenreid 11.
Bravard has 20 points and 12 rebounds for FSU, while Courtney Ward adds 11 points and Alexa DeLuzio 10.
UNC shoots 38.3 percent for the game compared to FSU’s 26.2. FSU wins the rebound battle 45-40, but commits 23 turnovers to 18 for UNC.
They said it …
UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell: “.”
FSU coach Sue Semrau: “.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
DeGraffenreid’s two free throws with 1:29 left to make it 74-65.
UNC leads 29-9.
UNC: Won 2.
FSU: Lost 1.
UNC vs. Miami, Saturday, 3;30 p.m.
FSU in NCAA Tournament.