No. 12 North Carolina women beat UCLA 78-68

BETH HARRIS (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Allisha Gray had a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and No. 12 North Carolina repelled runs in both halves to beat UCLA 78-68 Sunday.

The freshman made six 3-pointers to help the foul-plagued Tar Heels (2-1), who lost Brittany Rountree after she got hurt early in the second half. Rountree had three fouls, and fellow starters Diamond DeShields and Xylina McDaniel had four. Stephanie Mavunga fouled out with nine points.

North Carolina traveled across the country to earn its first win in Los Angeles, where the Tar Heels had been 0-2. They tied the all-time series 4-4. Jessica Washington added 16 points and McDaniel scored 13.

Thea Lemberger scored 19 points for the Bruins (1-2), who lost to their second ranked opponent. They opened the season with a 28-point loss to then-No. 17 Nebraska on the road. Antonye Nyingifa had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Nirra Fields had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Lauren Holiday had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

UCLA tied the game once in both halves, but could never grab the lead. Nyingifa scored the Bruins' first six points of the second half, tying it at 36-all on a jumper in the paint.

Gray answered with the first of her three straight 3-pointers that launched the Tar Heels on a 16-2 run and extended their lead to 52-38. Gray is part of a freshmen class ranked No. 1 nationally, and she's led her team in scoring in each of their three games. Her 3-pointers and 8 of 8 shooting from the line were career bests despite four fouls.

The Tar Heels built their lead to 19 points three times, the last at 66-47 on a basket by Mavunga, her last before fouling out with 4:33 to play.

Rountree went down while scrambling for the ball just before the Tar Heels' big run. She cried out in pain and eventually lay on the floor while a trainer and interim coach Andrew Calder looked on. Rountree was helped off the court and later returned to sit on the bench holding an ice pack to her forehead.

Calder is leading the Tar Heels while Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell is treated for leukemia.

The Tar Heels hit consecutive 3-pointers to open the game in building an 18-11 lead. The Bruins outscored them 8-2 to tie it up 19-all on a free throw by Holiday after she fell hard to the court.

From there, the Tar Heels closed on a 15-11 spurt to lead 34-30 at the break. Down by 11 during that span, the Bruins scored seven straight points to end the half.

The Bruins are without key players Kari Korver and Kacy Swain for the season after both tore ACLs within a week of each other.

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