10:30 PM ET, November 26, 2006
HONOLULU (AP) -- North Carolina used a balanced offense to knock off unbeaten Arkansas and win the Rainbow Wahine Classic.Erlana Larkins had 17 points and 12 rebounds, sending the second-ranked Tar Heels to a 94-69 victory Sunday night in the tournament title game.Camille Little, Alex Miller and LoToya Pringle added 14 points each. Rashanda McCants scored 12 and Ivory Latta had 11 points and seven assists for North Carolina (6-0), which fought off several runs by the Razorbacks.North Carolina shot 57 percent from the field, scored 64 points in the paint and forced 27 turnovers to hand Arkansas (7-1) its first loss of the season.The Tar Heels' full-court pressure made it difficult for Arkansas to get into its half-court set."This was a good test for us," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Our depth made the difference. We were really sloppy at times, but I didn't want to slow things down."The Tar Heels dominated the first two rounds, beating Sacramento State by 61 and then Gonzaga by 38 -- when they tied a school record with 14 3-pointers.But all that strong shooting might have hurt them in the first half on Sunday.Hatchell said she told her team at halftime to post up and drive to the basket. North Carolina struggled from long range, hitting only 23 percent from beyond the arc."Yesterday's performance led us to take all those early 3-pointers, but they just weren't falling," said Larkins, the tournament MVP. "So we switched it up and went inside more."Little and Latta were selected to the all-tournament team.Dominique Washington had 16 points for Arkansas, Lauren Ervin scored 15 and Donica Cosby had 11. Brittney Vaughn added 10 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, but she had 11 turnovers.The Tar Heels immediately tried to take advantage of a mismatch by posting up Pringle, a 6-foot-3 junior. She had eight early points, but Arkansas nearly matched that with seven from Ervin, who played with a splint on her left hand.After five lead changes, North Carolina found Larkins twice in the paint for easy baskets and then Heather Claytor hit a 3-pointer from the left side to spark a 22-5 run that created a 16-point margin with 7 minutes to go in the half.The Razorbacks cut into the lead as Washington hit two 3-pointers and Arkansas got several offensive rebounds for six second-chance points. The Razorbacks went on an 18-2 run to even the score at 39 with 2:37 to go.The Tar Heels scored the next seven points to take a 46-39 halftime lead. After the break, North Carolina expanded the cushion to 15 after it got consecutive steals at midcourt. McCants had six of those points.Arkansas rebounded with several small runs but never cut the deficit below 11.The Razorbacks beat Denver and Hawaii to get to the finals.