WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina withstood a strong
first half by Wake Forest and used stifling second-half defense to
win their seventh straight game.
Nikita Bell had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Erlana Larkins
added 20 points and 10 rebounds, leading North Carolina (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) to a
78-69 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Ivory Latta added 19 points for the Tar Heels (21-3, 9-2 ACC),
who remained a game behind Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Porsche Jones scored 21 points and Erin Ferrell added 20 for the
Demon Deacons (13-11, 2-9), who lost their sixth straight. Jennifer
Johnson added 10 points.
The Tar Heels had lost four of their last five games at Wake
Forest, but Bell tried to make sure the Demon Deacons didn't pull
off the upset.
"I just took what they gave me and I was shooting well today,''
said Bell, who shot 9-for-18 and finished with three assists and
five steals. "There was nothing out of the ordinary and I just had
open shots and I took them.''
After the Demon Deacons took a 53-48 lead in the second half,
the Tar Heels went on a 24-3 run over the next nine minutes to take
"We started playing defense in the second half,'' Coach Sylvia
Hatchell of the Tar Heels said. "In the first half Wake was red
Wake Forest shot 60 percent in the first half, but managed just
26 percent shooting in the second half.
The Demon Deacons, the top 3-point shooting team in the ACC,
made eight 3s in the first half and held a 45-42 lead at the break.
In the second half, Wake Forest missed its first 12 from beyond the
arc and shot 1-for-13 in the second half.
Demon Deacons coach Mike Petersen said his team stopped playing
aggressively in the second half.
"Carolina is one of the best defensive teams in the country,''
he said. "The bottom line is, we just did not play good enough to
Cotelia Bond-Young made a 3-pointer from the right wing with
27.5 seconds left in the half to give the Demon Deacons a 43-42
Ferrell was fouled going for a defensive rebound with 2.9
seconds left in the half and made two free throws to make it a
The Tar Heels shot 16-for-32 in the half, but just 4-for-11 from
3-point range. Latta scored 13 points in the first half and had
The Tar Heels dominated inside, outscoring the Demon Deacons
44-22, and held a 38-30 rebounding advantage.