North Carolina 80, North Carolina State 70

North Carolina 80, North Carolina State 70


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Lexi Donarski scored 23 points to power North Carolina to an 80-70 win over No. 6 North Carolina State.

The Tar Heels (18-9, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) were also boosted by 13 points and 11 rebounds from Alyssa Ustby, a career-high 12 points from Alexandra Zelaya, 12 points and seven rebounds from Maria Gakdeng and 11 points from Indya Nivar.

Aziaha James led the Wolfpack (23-4, 11-4) with 24 points, while Mimi Collins added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Saniya Rivers chipped in 13 points and Madison Hayes had 11.

The Tar Heels won their third straight after a four-game skid, while the Wolfpack had their three-game winning streak snapped.

After trailing by seven points in the first quarter, UNC coach Courtney Banghart inserted a smaller front court of Alexandra Zelaya and Indya Nivar. The Tar Heels then closed the period on a 13-5 run to take a two-point lead, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Zelaya.

Zelaya hit her fourth 3 of the night — a career high for the senior forward — in the third quarter. The Tar Heels pushed their lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter when Donarski swished her fifth 3.

Also key for UNC was the steady play of point guard Deja Kelly, who had nine points, eight assists and zero turnovers in 38 minutes.


North Carolina: This was one of the most complete games the Tar Heels have played in a while. They led for nearly 30 minutes. UNC outscored N.C. State 20-15 in the second quarter, marking the first time since a Dec. 19 win over Oklahoma that the Heels scored more than their opponent in that frame. This was UNC’s first win over a ranked opponent since beating Louisville on Jan. 21.

NC State: The Wolfpack entered with one of the best defenses in the country, allowing opponents to make just 35.2% of their field goals, which is ninth-best nationally. But N.C. State couldn’t stop the Tar Heels from beyond the arc. North Carolina shot a season-best 52.4% on 3-pointers.


North Carolina athletics press release

February 22, 2024