By R.L. Bynum
After an impressive come-from-behind 76–73 victory at Boston College in Sunday’s ACC opener, the North Carolina women remained at No. 25 in the latest AP Top 25 poll released Monday.
When the Tar Heels (10–0, 1–0 ACC) debuted in the poll last week, they had 64 poll points, narrowly edging out the 63 for Oklahoma and Colorado to be ranked No. 25. This week, UNC has 66 poll points, substantially more than Colorado (52) and Oklahoma (45).
Carolina, one of seven remaining unbeaten teams out of 356 Division I programs. plays its final non-conference game at 1 p.m. Tuesday against Alabama State (2–6) at Carmichael Arena (ESPN3).
It’s UNC’s first 10–0 start since beginning the 2010–11 season 14–0. That team finished 28–9 and lost to Stanford in an NCAA regional semifinal.
The Tar Heels rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Eagles. Graduate guard Carlie Littlefield made huge shots down the stretch, finishing with 22 points, and sophomore guard Deja Kelly hit the game-winning jumper, got a steal and made two free throws in the final seconds.
“Our main talk was just staying together and staying connected, and that we just needed to play harder,” said Kelly, who scored 19. “We knew that we’re capable of so much more and that we hadn’t shown that throughout the first half and the third quarter. So once we were down by 15, we didn’t really get rattled. We didn’t start bickering or anything like that. We really stayed together and stayed connected. And I think that’s what helped us.”
This is the second consecutive week that the UNC women’s team is ranked when the men’s team is unranked. It’s the first time that’s happened since it occurred seven consecutive weeks from Jan. 6 to Feb. 17, 2014.
UNC’s women were No. 13 in the Jan. 6 poll when the men fell out of the poll after a 73–67 road loss to Wake Forest. When the men’s team returned to the poll at No. 19 on Feb. 24 after beating the Deacons 105–72 for its ninth consecutive victory, the women’s team was No. 14.
That season, the women went 27–10, losing to No. 6 Stanford in a regional final. The men finished 24–10, losing to Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The UNC men got the 34th-most poll points in this week’s poll.
N.C. State fell from No. 2 to No. 5 in the women’s poll after losing at home to then-No. 17 and now No. 13 Georgia in overtime 82–80. The Wolfpack (11–2, 2–0 ACC) rebounded to beat Virginia 82–55 at home Sunday.
Other ACC teams in the poll are No. 16 Duke (down one slot after losing to No. 1 South Carolina), No. 17 Georgia Tech (up one slot) and No. 20 Notre Dame (up one slot).
The only North Carolina-based poll voter, Mitchell Northam of WUNC, voted the Pack No. 5, the Blue Devils No. 14 and the Heels No. 18.
AP Top 25
Others receiving votes: Colorado 52, Oklahoma 45, DePaul 43, Florida Gulf Coast 42, Nebraska 30. Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.
UNC season statistics
day, time, TV
|9||92–47 win, 1–0||Home||N.C. A&T|
|14||89–33 win, 2–0||Road||Charlotte|
|17||89–44 win, 3–0||Home||Appalachian State|
|21||79–46 win, 4–0||Road||TCU|
|26||72–59 win, 5–0||Bimini, Bahamas||X — VCU|
|27||58–37 win, 6–0||Bimini, Bahamas||X — Washington|
|December (4–0, 1–0 ACC)|
|1||82–76 win, 7–0||Road||Y — Minnesota|
|5||93–47 win, 8–0||Home||James Madison|
|12||107–46 win, 9–0||Home||UNC Asheville|
|19||76–63 win, 10–0, 1–0 ACC||Road||Boston College|
|21||Tuesday, 1, ACCNX||Home||Alabama State|
|30||Thursday, 4, ACC Network||Home||Syracuse|
|2||Sunday, 6, ACCN||Home||Clemson|
|6||Thursday, 8, ACCN||Road||No. 5 N.C. State|
|9||Sunday, 6, ACCN||Home||Virginia Tech|
|16||Sunday, 1, RSN||Road||No. 20 Notre Dame|
|20||Thursday, 6, ACCNX||Home||Virginia|
|23||Sunday, noon, ACCN||Road||No. 17 Georgia Tech|
|27||Thursday, 7, ACCNX||Road||No. 16 Duke|
|30||Sunday, TBA, ESPN or ACCN||Home||No. 5 N.C. State|
|3||Thursday, 8, RSN||Road||Wake Forest|
|6||Sunday, noon, ACCN||Home||Miami|
|10||Thursday, 6, ACCNX||Home||Pittsburgh|
|13||Sunday, 1, ACCNX||Road||Virginia Tech|
|17||Thursday, 6, RSN||Home||No. 6 Louisville|
|20||Sunday, noon, RSN||Road||Florida State|
|24||Thursday, 7, ACCNX||Road||Virginia|
|27||Sunday, TBA, ESPN2 or ACCN||Home||No. 16 Duke|
X —Goombay Splash; Y — Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Photo courtesy of Boston College Athletics