Rountree Launches North Carolina Past Clemson in ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Opener



GREENSBORO, N.C. - The fifth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the 12th-seeded Clemson Lady Tigers, 90-51, in the opening game of the 2012 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Thursday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum. It was the Tar Heels' biggest ACC Tournament win ever and the largest margin of victory in an ACC Tournament game since 2005.

All-ACC Freshman honoree Brittany Rountree scored 21 points on a season-high seven three-pointers to lead the Tar Heels and tie the ACC Tournament record for three-point field goals in a game. The Jacksonville, Fla., native hit five first-half treys to turn an early 13-11 Carolina advantage into a 44-25 lead at halftime.

"I thought we had a great team effort out there today," said North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell. "We shared the ball and played some good team ball. I knew this team was capable of doing this. I actually thought that we played a really good second half against Duke on Sunday.

"Of course these two young ladies had a great game," Hatchell continued. "Brittany (Rountree) is a great shooter, and she played well against Duke on Sunday and then of course again today as well. (Tierra Ruffin-) Pratt she has a couple of really great games, and today, you know she scored well, but she did a lot of things - six assists to no turnovers, a blocked shot, a steal. She's doing all those things out there that make us a better team. I was pleased with the effort and to come out with this win."

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Ruffin-Pratt tallied 14 points and a season-high six assists for the Tar Heels and senior Laura Broomfield notched her seventh double-double of the year with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

"This was very disappointing," Clemson head coach Itoro Coleman said. "Other than the loss, I think our fight was just the most disappointing today. We knew North Carolina was going to make a run, but we never really bounced back from it at all. North Carolina, I felt like, adjusted to the zone really well. Brittany Rountree - she got really hot. She got really hot on the outside, shooting three's and we kept losing her in our zone. My hat's off to North Carolina. They played extremely well today."

All-ACC Freshman Team selection Nikki Dixon led the young Clemson squad with 14 points, recording her 19th double-figure scoring game of the year.

The Tar Heels (20-10) secured their 10th 20-win season in the last 11 years and will face fourth-seeded Georgia Tech (22-7) in a quarterfinal matchup Friday at 11:00 a.m.

TOURNAMENT NOTES, GAME 1:

  •  North Carolina's victory was its 55th all-time in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament. The Tar Heels' tournament record now stands at 55-25.
  • Thursday's game against Clemson marked the Tar Heels' fourth appearance in the first round. UNC improved to 3-1 in those games, all since 2001. The lone loss was two seasons ago, when No. 8 seed UNC lost to No. 9 Maryland 83-77.
  • One season ago, UNC played in the first round as the No. 6 seed and advanced to the title game, before losing to top-seeded Duke.
  • The Tar Heels improved to 9-3 in tournament history as a No. 5 seed and have won the tournament twice as a No. 5 seed, in 1984 and 1995. UNC is now 11-4 against Clemson in the tournament.
  • The Tar Heels' 44 first-half points were their most against ACC competition this season. In the regular season, Clemson defeated UNC 52-47 in Chapel Hill.
  • UNC's margin of victory set a record for the ACC first round, surpassing a 27-point win by Georgia Tech over Miami in 2008. The all-time margin is 64 points by Maryland over Duke in the 1978 quarterfinals.
  • UNC freshman Brittany Rountree's seven 3-pointers tied the ACC Tournament single-game mark, shared by three players, most recently Boston College's Mickel Picco in 2008. Rountree set a season high in 3-pointers made, but it was not her high in points. She had 27 at Penn State in November.
  • Clemson fell to 4-11 all-time against North Carolina in the tournament and 29-32 overall in tournament contests. The Tigers are 3-6 all-time in first-round action while dropping their opening game of the tournament for the third consecutive year.
  •  The loss dropped Clemson to 0-2 against North Carolina in the tournament as the No. 12 seed. No. 12 seeds are now 1-7 overall in the history of the tournament.
  •  It was the second consecutive UNC-Clemson meeting in the first round. The Tar Heels won 78-64 last season.
  • Over 12,000 students are attending the first two days of the tournament: 5,500 students on Thursday, Elementary School day, and 6,600 on Friday, Middle School day.
  • There are 100 different schools coming that represent 12 different school districts- Forsyth, Guilford, Lee, Lexington, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Surry, Thomasville, Yadkin, Chatham and Davie. Private schools and home school are in attendance as well.
  • Of the 12,100 students coming 6,230 of them are from Guilford County.