No. 3 North Carolina Outlasts No. 4 Maryland, 97-86, In 2 OTs

LaToya Pringle scores 12 of career-high 31 points in second overtime for Tar Heels

Jan. 26, 2008

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - LaToya Pringle scored 12 of her career-high 31 points in the second overtime to help No. 3 North Carolina beat No. 4 Maryland 97-86 on Saturday.

Erlana Larkins had 25 points and 18 rebounds for the Tar Heels (18-2, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who bounced back from Monday's loss at top-ranked Connecticut with a thrilling home victory against one of their toughest league rivals.

Crystal Langhorne had 23 points to lead the Terrapins (22-2, 6-1), who had won 12 straight games but couldn't hold onto leads late in regulation or in the first overtime.

Pringle picked a great time to have one of the best games of her career. She made the overtime-forcing three-point play and scored six straight points in the second OT as the Tar Heels finally pulled away. She finished 11-for-16 from the field, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked three shots in 40 minutes.

She did all that despite taking an elbow to the face midway through the second half, which left her with a bloody lip and forced her to change jerseys.

After Larkins knocked down two free throws for the lead just a few seconds into the second overtime, Pringle went to work. The 6-foot-3 senior scored inside off a feed from Larkins, then knocked down a jumper in the lane off a feed from Jessica Breland before scoring off an offensive rebound to make it 87-82 with 1:52 left.

Maryland got no closer the rest of the way, with Pringle going 6-for-6 at the line in the final minute to help seal it.

Rashanda McCants added 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for North Carolina, which led by 10 points in the first half but had to rally from a seven-point deficit midway through the second half. She also had a layup off a steal to tie it at 79 with 31 seconds left in the first overtime.

The Terrapins, however, didn't cash in on their chances, missing shots late in regulation and on the final play of the first overtime that could have won it.

It was a matchup befitting the rivalry of recent seasons. Two years ago, Maryland handed North Carolina its only two losses, the second coming in the Final Four on the Terps' way to the national championship. Last year, the Tar Heels won at Maryland and beat the Terrapins in the ACC tournament semifinals.

It was the sixth straight meeting in which both teams were ranked in the top 10.

Marissa Coleman had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Terrapins, while Kristi Toliver had 20 points and 14 assists.

After Pringle's three-point play tied it at 71 with 46.5 seconds left in regulation, both teams had a chance to avoid overtime. But Breland blocked Coleman's jumper on one end while Pringle's putback of a missed 3 from McCants rattled out as the horn sounded.

Maryland had another chance for the win at the end of the first overtime, but Toliver missed a midrange jumper on the final play.

The Terrapins were without coach Brenda Frese, who is pregnant with twins and can't travel to road games. Assistant Daron Park fills in for Frese at road games.

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