Latta, No. 2 UNC pound BC, remain undefeated

BOSTON -- North Carolina's previous game was against then-No. 3 Maryland. Its next game is against No. 1 Duke.

In between, the second-ranked Tar Heels had a chance for a breather against Boston College.

"And now," guard Ivory Latta said, breaking into a big smile, "we're getting ready for Duke."

Latta started slowly before scoring 11 of her 20 points in the last 7 minutes of the first half, and North Carolina pulled away from Boston College for an 82-60 victory Thursday night.

Camille Little and LaToya Pringle each had 15 points and nine rebounds for North Carolina (24-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which extended its school and ACC record for victories to start a season. Duke is 22-0 heading into Friday night's game against Virginia. The Blue Devils visit North Carolina next Thursday.

"That will be a great game next week," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We're undefeated. Duke will probably be undefeated.

"I don't know how much better it can get. It will be better than a national championship, to tell you the truth."

The Tar Heels were coming off an 84-71 victory Sunday over defending NCAA champion Maryland, which beat them in the national semifinals last spring when the Final Four was played in Boston. Hatchell didn't waste any time warning her team not to look too far ahead.

"The next day at practice, Coach was like, 'Maryland was over. We've got Boston College, and they're going to be tough," Latta said.

BC (11-11, 1-7) led 16-15 midway through the first, and Latta was scoreless before hitting a 3-pointer with 6:51 left to give North Carolina a 23-18 lead. After Corey Rusin made two free throws for BC, the Tar Heels scored the next nine points.

By the time the half was over, North Carolina had scored 24 of 32 points and held BC to one basket in the final 8:02. Latta hit her third 3-pointer to make it 43-26 with 1:04 left in the half.

"She started off kind of quiet in the first half," BC guard Sarah Marshall said. "She missed her first couple of shots, then she hits one and you look up and she's in double figures."

Kathrin Ress had 15 points and six rebounds for Boston College, and Ayla Brown had 13 and nine as the Eagles lost their third straight and seventh of eight since New Year's Day. The Eagles play at Maryland on Sunday.

"It's hard when you're losing, but I don't think our players are defeated. We are getting better," BC coach Cathy Inglese said. "Now that we're going into the ACC heavy hitters, it's hard for people on the outside to see we are getting better."