Pringle’s 18 points and 11 rebounds leads UNC over Duke
By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
DURHAM — LaToya Pringle had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 3 North Carolina past 11th-ranked Duke 93-76 on Monday night.
Freshman Cetera DeGraffenreid also scored 18 points and Rashanda McCants added 15 for the Tar Heels (20-2, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). The nation’s most potent offense shot 50 percent against the league’s best defense, owned a 43-34 rebounding advantage, routinely generated open looks and consistently knocked them down.
For North Carolina, it all added up to a convincing victory that snapped a two-game losing streak in the bitter Tobacco Road rivalry.
Chante Black and Wanisha Smith both had 15 points for Duke (16-6, 5-2), which allowed a season-high point total in dropping two of three at home in an eight-day span. A week earlier, Tennessee snapped the Blue Devils’ 24-game winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium with a final-seconds victory.
This one wasn’t nearly that close. And while the stakes weren’t quite as high as they’ve been in previous years — both teams were ranked in the top five during the previous five meetings, including a pair of No. 1-vs.-No. 2 matchups — the Tar Heels gave first-year Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie a rather rude introduction to the always-intense series.
North Carolina only briefly trailed in winning for the 11th time in 12 games, taking control of this one for good with a 20-8 run that bridged halftime and pushed its lead into double figures to stay.
Carrem Gay pulled Duke within 37-35 with a jumper with about 4 minutes left in the half, but that was as close as the Blue Devils would get.
DeGraffenreid was fouled by Keturah Jackson while shooting a 3-pointer about 30 seconds later, and she knocked down all three free throws to start the decisive run.
By the time Pringle knocked down two free throws to make it 57-43 with 17 minutes remaining, coach Sylvia Hatchell was well on her way to career victory No. 499. Her first chance at the milestone victory will come Thursday night at Boston College.
Erlana Larkins and Jessica Breland both scored 13 points for the Tar Heels. Larkins, playing with a wrapped left wrist, reached double figures for just the second time in five games.
Abby Waner scored 13 points and Gay added 10 for Duke, which entered the North Carolina game ranked outside the top five for the first time since March 2000. The Blue Devils were just 2-of-17 from 3-point range and didn’t make one until Smith connected with about 13 minutes left and Duke trailing 65-51.
The Tar Heels simply lit up the league’s best defense in the first half, making nearly 49 percent of their shots against a Duke defense that entered allowing teams to shoot just 34.5 percent. North Carolina had 48 points at halftime — less than eight shy of what the Blue Devils usually allow in a full game.