GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina scored the first 14 points of the second half and erased a 12-point halftime deficit to eliminate Wake Forest 69-65 Thursday in the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels were credited with 15 steals, part of 26 Wake Forest turnovers- the Deacs' most glaring weakness this season. Freshman Diamond DeShields led the Heels with 17 points and 8 rebounds, none bigger than a clutch three-pointer in the waning moments just after Wake Forest re-took the lead.
Wake Forest was led by another monster effort from junior forward Dearica Hamby. Hamby ended her season by scoring 29 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the loss. Senior Chelsea Douglas scored 20 points in her final college game, appropriately her last three-pointer before time finally expired. No other players from either team scored in double figures.
Wake Forest played a nearly flawless first half, building a double-digit lead on the strength of 59 percent shooting. Hamby had 19 of her 29 points in the first half, despite picking up two early fouls. However, the Heels picked up the defensive intensity in the second half, making it difficult for the Deacs to even inbound the ball. The Deacs went nearly six and a half minutes without a field goal after halftime, the only respite being a 23-minute power outage that stemmed the Tar Heel run.
North Carolina advances to the quarterfinals with the win, and will face third-seeded Maryland in the nightcap of Friday's action in Greensboro. It will be interesting to see how attendance is affected for fans of the North Carolina teams, as the Piedmont Triad was hit with an ice storm overnight. The storm forced the tip time for the first quarterfinal to be moved to noon, and the precipitation is not expected to dissipate until early afternoon at the earliest.