March 4, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Laura Broomfield had 15 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 19 North Carolina beat No. 14 Florida State 78-65 on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Italee Lucas added 13 points for the sixth-seeded Tar Heels (24-7), who blew nearly all of a 17-point lead in the second half before holding on against the cold-shooting Seminoles (23-7).
North Carolina had lost four straight coming into the tournament, but has won two in a row to reach Saturday’s semifinals and face 10th-ranked Miami – the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
Cierra Bravard had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead third-seeded Florida State, which flirted with making the second-biggest halftime comeback in tournament history. But the Seminoles shot just 26 percent and missed their last 18 shots for their second straight one-and-done showing in Greensboro.
North Carolina led 39-24 at halftime and pushed the lead to 17 points early in the second half before the Seminoles rallied.
Florida State got five points from Bravard and a pair of 3-pointers from Courtney Ward during a 17-4 run midway through the half. Christian Hunnicutt capped the run with a pair of free throws that pulled Florida State to within one at 58-57 with 9:28 left.
But Ward’s second 3 with 10:50 to play was the Seminoles’ last basket.
And once Bravard went to the bench with her fourth foul with about 9 minutes left, the Seminoles lost momentum.
Lucas pulled up against Tay’ler Mingo in the lane and buried a jumper to push the lead to four, then Cetera DeGraffenreid had a transition layup off a turnover to make it 65-59 with 7:36 left. Then, after a pair of free throws from Chelsea Davis, the Tar Heels scored five straight points, getting a basket inside from Chay Shegog and two free throws from Broomfield to make it 70-61 with 5:50 left.
Florida State got no closer than seven from there, misfiring on shot after shot down the stretch and never putting pressure back on the Tar Heels.
North Carolina shot just 38 percent, but it forced the Seminoles to 23 turnovers and converted those into 18 points – many coming off their trapping pressure in the first half. They also had enough depth up front to handle foul trouble to their front line of Shegog, Jessica Breland (12 points) and Waltiea Rolle (nine points) – all of whom ended up with four fouls.
Broomfield fouled out with 5:32 left in a game that had 48 fouls.