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Recap: Ustby’s 18 rebounds, Adams’ clutch shots the difference for No. 22 UNC in the ultimate back-and-forth affair

The No. 22 UNC Tar Heels played about as even with the No. 11 NC State Wolfpack as you can play, but Alyssa Ustby ended too many Wolfpack possessions with a defensive rebound for NC State to win.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 05 Women’s North Carolina at Miami
Alyssa Ustby
Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last Sunday it was Paulina Paris going on an 11-9 individual run to create a seven-point lead for the No. 22 North Carolina Tar Heels with 5:42 remaining against then-No. 4 Notre Dame. This Sunday, it was Destiny Adams going on an 8-5 individual run to create a seven-point lead with 1:31 remaining against the No. 11 NC State Wolfpack en route to a 56-47 victory at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill.

It was back-and-forth all afternoon; Adams had the final say with her left-corner dagger three at 1:31 after which the Pack never got closer. A combined 4-of-4 effort from Kennedy Todd-Williams and Alyssa Ustby at the stripe over the remainder of the contest sealed the deal. Ustby hauled in a whopping 18 rebounds in the win, while Todd-Williams notched a game-high 15 points.

Adams’ first left-corner three was answered by a Diamond Johnson three for NC State and her layup at 3:20 remaining was answered by a Camille Hobby layup. In both cases, the Pack cut it back to a four-point deficit. But they didn’t silence the energy in the building that Adams built up and they couldn’t answer her a third time.

Todd-Williams missed an opportunity to potentially spark a big UNC run late in the third. She made a three to tie the game at 31 and then stole the ball on the ensuing NC State possession, but missed a transition mid-range shot that didn’t even hit rim. She would get the crowd going again though and make good on a play in transition early in the fourth. She poked the ball away from Jakia Brown-Turner near mid-court and then the two players stumbled down the court, fighting for the ball. Todd-Williams gained control of it just in time to put a layup in. She drew a foul on the play as well and made the free throw to make it 36-34 Heels.

Ustby stole the ball on the ensuing possession and that led to two Todd-Williams freebies that made it 38-34 with 8:18 to play.

Paris would make a three that pushed the UNC lead to 42-37. Then, after a Madison Hayes three for NC State, Paris used her off hand to make a difficult contested layup that just barely rolled in and made it 44-40 Heels with 4:27 left. Adams’ 8-5 run ensued.

Through three quarters, NC State’s largest lead was four and UNC’s largest lead was three. There were 30 total made shots in those quarters, including free throws. Twenty-two of them either tied the game, broke a tie or caused a lead change.

Ustby added nine points, four assists and two steals to her stat line. UNC leading scorer Deja Kelly was held to five points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field. Adams’ scoring was all done on the 8-5 run; she was 2-of-3 from deep in the game and grabbed nine boards.

Johnson, NC State’s leading scorer, was held to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field. Brown-Turner finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Hobby had 13 points and six boards.

The Heels improved to 12-5 (3-3 ACC), while the Pack fell to 13-5 (3-4 ACC).