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Tar Heels tackle Wildcats in NCAA Tournament

Mar 22, 2011 - 5:15 AM Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - Italee Lucas scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds as she helped lead the North Carolina Tar Heels to an 86-74 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at The Pit.

Lucas, who shot just 2-of-6 from three-point range for fifth-seeded UNC (28-8), added five assists and a couple of steals, but was also responsible for six turnovers. Playing big in the paint was Jessica Breland who recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots, while Krista Gross also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards for the visitors.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (25-9) were paced by Victoria Dunlap who posted a game-high 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the floor. A'dia Mathies was responsible for 13 points and Keyla Snowden 12, but they combined to convert just 8-of-29 from the floor, including 3-of-13 behind the three-point line. Maegan Conwright contributed 10 points off the bench.

The Kentucky offense was off the mark in the first half, shooting only 30.6 percent from the floor and 3-of-12 out on the perimeter, leading to a 40-30 deficit at the break.

In the second half the Wildcats stayed close, but North Carolina feasted at the free-throw line (21-of-22) in order to bring home the double-digit win.

The Tar Heels used a 27-13 scoring advantage at the charity stripe and a 55-31 edge on the glass to offset a whopping 22 turnovers on the night.

North Carolina heads to the regional semifinals on Saturday in Spokane where it will take on the top-seeded Stanford Cardinal.