The fourth-seeded North Carolina women’s basketball team overcame an 18-point second half deficit to slip past No. 13 seed UT-Martin 60-58 Sunday afternoon in Carmichael Arena and advance to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
With the victory, the Tar Heels improved to 25-9 on the season while UT-Martin finished at 24-8 with the defeat.
ACC Freshman of the Year Diamond DeShields posted 15 points to lead the Tar Heels while sophomore Xylina McDaniel contributed 14 points of her own to pace the incredible comeback for UNC.
It looked certain that Carolina was heading for a disappointing first round exit when trailing 50-32 midway through the second half, but DeShields says the flagrant foul, in which she took an elbow to the throat, “ignited a match” under the sluggish Tar Heels.
Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says the sheer will of the players carried them through the contest where UNC’s ‘A-game’ was clearly absent.
But Carolina found a way to overcome Heather Butler’s 19-point output for UT-Martin and book a second round date with No. 5 seed Michigan State Tuesday back in Carmichael Arena.