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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: