CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team battled No. 15/23 ranked North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, but the Tar Heels held on to defeat the Hokies 48-45 at Carmichael Arena.
Uju Ugoka tallied 15 points for the Hokies (7-7, 1-2 ACC) while Monet Tellier added 12. Ugoka also pulled down a team-best five rebounds. Lauren Evans handed out three assists and secured three steals. Taijah Campbell posted three blocks for Tech.
Xylina McDaniel and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 14 points each for the Tar Heels (15-1, 3-0 ACC). McDaniel pulled down eight rebounds and nabbed five steals while Ruffin-Pratt dished out a trio of assists.
“Really proud of the effort this team has given for the whole season. We have been real competitive especially in these games since Uju [Ugoka] joined the team,” said Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff. “Carolina has a really good team, they are well coached. We just didn’t have enough in the end. When you are in these situations like this game, the players think they can win and I think we can win, and we didn’t win. But Carolina has one of the better teams in the country and we stood toe to toe with them for most of the game. I am proud of that, but you want to win.”
The Hokies came out strong in the opening half and led 11-6 after the first nine minutes of the game. Tech extended its lead to nine (20-11) with 5:07 on the clock, but the Tar Heels answered with a 9-0 run to tie the score with just under two minutes to go. Nia Evans connected on a layup for the Hokies to put them on top 22-20 in the final minute, but Ruffin-Pratt answered for the Heels to tie the score going into the break.
Carolina came out in the second half with an early 16-7 run, taking a 38-29 lead midway through the half. Tech kept the lead within single digits and closed to six several times, but the Heels maintained and took their largest lead of the game on top 44-34 with 6:10 to go. The Hokies answered with a 7-0 run to close the gap to three (44-41) with 3:40 on the clock.
The Tar Heels pulled back ahead by four, but Tech cut into the lead again and was within two (47-45) off a pair of free throws from Alyssa Fenyn going into the last minute. Ruffin-Pratt hit the second in a pair of free throws for the Tar Heels with 10 seconds remaining. Tech was unable to get a shot off in the final seconds as Carolina held on for the 48-45 win.
Virginia Tech connected on 41.9 percent (18-of-43) from the field while the Tar Heels were 16-of-48 from the field for 33.3 percent. Both teams hit two shots from outside the arc. North Carolina held the advantage from the free throw line, connecting on 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) while the Hokies connected on 58.3 percent (7-of-12).
Carolina held a 32-29 advantage on the boards, resulting in 14 second chance points to Tech’s seven. The Tar Heels also forced 24 Virginia Tech turnovers for 19 points. Tech forced 20 turnovers for nine points.
The Hokies will be back on the court on Thursday, Jan. 10 when they host Boston College. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.
For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).