CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Stephanie Mavunga had 23 points and 12 rebounds to help No. 9 North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 72-56 on Sunday in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Brittany Rountree added 14 points and four 3-pointers for the Tar Heels (14-1), who blew it open with a dominating run after halftime. UNC outscored N.C. State 20-3 coming out of the break, turning a 34-25 halftime edge into a 26-point lead with 12 minutes left.
Dominique Wilson scored 15 points to lead the Wolfpack (9-5) on a tough offensive afternoon. N.C. State shot 30 percent and went 4-for-22 from 3-point range while also committing 16 turnovers.
The win marked North Carolina’s seventh straight in the long-running series, with N.C. State’s last win coming in February 2011 and its last win in Chapel Hill coming nearly five years ago.
Mavunga, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, had a huge game against the Wolfpack’s undersized front line. She made 10 of 14 shots to go with a career-best five assists, four blocks and a steal in 30 minutes.
It was her second straight big scoring performance since the Tar Heels lost starting forward Xylina McDaniel to a leg injury that could keep the junior out for the year. She was coming off a career-high 26 points on 13-for-14 shooting against East Tennessee State two days earlier.
Allisha Gray added 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, joining with Mavunga in sparking the decisive run.
Mavunga scored in the post on UNC’s first two possessions, and the two combined to score seven baskets in the paint in the first 6-plus minutes of the half to go with a transition 3 from Rountree.
While the Tar Heels’ offense hummed, the Wolfpack’s attack sputtered. N.C. State missed 11 of 12 shots out of halftime and flirted with dropping below 20-percent shooting for the game as UNC pushed to a 54-28 lead on Latifah Coleman’s layup with 12:17 left.
N.C. State: N.C. State scrapped its way to a 42-39 rebounding advantage, including 21-14 on the offensive glass. That led to a 19-11 edge in second-chance points. … Miah Spencer and Len’Nique Brown-Hoskin each added 11 points.
UNC: The school held a moment of silence in honor of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, a UNC alumnus who died Sunday after a long fight with cancer. … UNC shot 52 percent after halftime and took a 38-20 edge in points in the paint for the game.
N.C. State hosts Virginia Tech on Thursday night.
UNC travels to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.