MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Chey Shegog scored 19 points and Krista Goss had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 23 North Carolina to a 65-61 win over East Carolina on Tuesday night.
The Tar Heels' size proved decisive in the end. They twice pulled down rebounds after missing free throws in the final 23 seconds, keeping the Pirates (6-4) from getting a chance to pull off their first upset of a Top 25 team in four years.
North Carolina (8-2) survived another low scoring night. The Tar Heels came into their two games in Myrtle Beach leading the nation at 87.5 points a game, but scored just 48 in a loss to South Carolina on Sunday.
Chareya Smith led East Carolina with 14 points, while Tatiana Chapple added 11 points and seven rebounds,
It was a back-and-forth game with neither team leading by more than six.
After Chareya Smith's layup tied the game at 51 with 6:25 to go, the Tar Heels appeared to take over. Shegog got the ball inside and hit a short jumper. Danielle Butts stole the ball on the next possession, then was fouled as she hit a fast-break layup. She missed the free throw, but North Carolina got the rebound and pushed it inside to Shegog again. Her layup put the Tar Heels ahead 57-51, their largest lead of the game.
But the Pirates weren't finished. After a time-out, Krisine Mial, on the bench for almost the whole game in foul trouble, hit a 3-pointer with 5:22 to go. The Pirates then used a couple of back door cuts to get a pair of layups that left them down 59-58 with 2:45 to go.
Both teams failed to score on their next possession before Krista Goss' putback with 1:05 to go put North Carolina ahead 61-58. East Carolina missed two shots on its next possession. She'la White made a free throw and the Tar Heels rebounded her miss on the second shot. Shannon Smith would make one of her two foul shots for North Carolina and the Pirates never had a chance to tie or take the lead again.
Brittany Roundtree scored 12 points and Butts added 10 for the Tar Heels.
Shala Hodges scored 12 points and Celeste Stewart added 10 for East Carolina.
The in-state teams were frequent rivals in the infancy of women's basketball, playing each other 25 times. But before Tuesday, they hadn't played each other since 1999.
The game against North Carolina was the start of a tough three-game stretch for the Pirates, who face No. 19 Delaware next in a holiday tournament and could end up with a game against No. 5 Maryland.
There was plenty of Carolina blue in the stands as coach Sylvia Hatchell brought her team to Myrtle Beach for a December "home" game for a 17th straight year. Hatchell won two national titles about 60 miles away at Division II Francis Marion and heavily works the high schools in northeast South Carolina.
East Carolina coach Heather Macy also coached at Francis Marion before becoming the Pirates coach in 2010.