CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- After North Carolina All-American Erlana Larkins injured her left hand Sunday, Latoya Pringle gave the Tar Heels just what they needed.
Pringle scored a career-high 25 points and had 10 rebounds to lead No. 4 North Carolina past Liberty, 88-67 on Sunday. She hit six of eight shots from the field and went 13-of-15 from the line. She scored 14 points in the second half, 12 of those coming after Larkins left at the 17:24 mark."Latoya had a great game, and she had some great numbers shooting and rebounding," coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "That's what we needed her to do after Erlana left the game."Larkins scored 15 points before leaving, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor. The rest of the Tar Heels shot 18-for-50 (36 percent)."I'm not sure that they'd be happy with their perimeter shooting tonight, but they did a great job attacking the rim, getting second-chance shots and getting to the free throw line," Liberty coach Carey Green said. "That's where they won the game."Liberty was the first team to outrebound the Tar Heels this season, 42-39, but North Carolina held a 15-14 edge on the offensive boards. The 6-foot-3 tandem of Pringle and Jessica Breland had four offensive rebounds each."All of their post players can handle the ball well and shoot from the outside," Pringle said. "That can be difficult to handle."Rashanda McCants added 12 points for North Carolina (13-1). Reserve Italee Lucas chipped in 11.The win was the Tar Heels' 67th straight over a non-conference opponent in Chapel Hill. The Flames committed 27 fouls, saw their top two scorers foul out and had two others finish with four fouls."I liked it," Hatchell said. "That's the sort of game you have to be able to play in the NCAAs. You've got to play tough."Larkins was reaching for a defensive rebound when she screamed, went down and hobbled off the court at the farthest corner away from the North Carolina bench, cradling her injured hand. Preliminary examination indicated a broken bone inside her left, non-shooting hand, Hatchell said."Knowing Erlana, she'll be OK," Hatchell said.Megan Frazee led Liberty (11-2) with 18 points and 15 rebounds before she fouled out with 5:09 left. Triplet sister Molly Frazee had 13 points before fouling out with 1:14 to go."We had to readjust because of foul trouble," Green said. "We hadn't been in that much trouble so far this year."North Carolina led 45-31 at halftime and opened the second half with a 15-7 run. After UNC stretched the lead to 60-40, Liberty never again got closer than 60-48."We were hoping to get the game down to something reasonable in the last two minutes, but we never could do that," Gray said.The Flames committed 35 turnovers and hit just 27 of 62 shots from the field."No one is going to be really successful with 35 turnovers -- 35, that's a killer," Green said.