GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina's fabulous freshmen, Diamond DeShields and Alisha Gray, combined for 39 points as the Tar Heels eliminated Maryland for the second consecutive year, 73-70,. Forward Xylina McDaniel added 10 points and four rebounds for the Heels, who withstood a late Maryland rally to take the win.
Maryland was led by senior Alyssa Thomas' 24 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Lexie Brown's 10 points. Thomas became Maryland's all-time leading scorer during the game, but was unable to knock down a jumper from the free throw line in the waning moments of the game, as the ball was tipped by Gray. Maryland now returns to College Park to lick its wounds and prepare for the NCAA Tournament.
It's no surprise that this game came down to the final moments before it was decided. A glance at the box score showed Maryland with a clear advantage in the "hustle stats" but North Carolina made five three-pointers to Maryland's one. It wasn't until UNC pulled down the final rebound that Maryland's fate was sealed, sending a throng of blue-clad Tar Heel fans into a frenzy while their counterparts across the coliseum floor stared in disbelief.
Carolina's victory means that they will face arch-rival Duke in Saturday's second semifinal. That game will tip following the conclusion of the N.C. State/Notre Dame tilt, where it is all but certain that Markeisha Gatling will be unavailable for the Wolfpack.
For more on the tournament, check out our 2014 ACC women's basketball tournament storystream.