GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Leah Church scored 20 points and Jocelyn Jones had 14, both career-highs, and eighth-seeded North Carolina pulled away from ninth-seeded Georgia Tech 80-73 in a battle between short-handed teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament second round on Thursday.
The Tar Heels (18-13), who earned a quarterfinal date with top-seeded and fourth-ranked Notre Dame on Friday, also got 19 points from Paris Kea and 18 from Shayla Bennett.
North Carolina was without Janelle Bailey, who matches Kea’s team-leading 16.7 points a game and is tops in rebounding at 8.9, because of a suspension following her ejection from the final game of the regular season. Stephanie Watts, who averages 15.2 points, is day-to-day with an injury.
Church, in her fourth-straight start for Watts, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer to break at 57-57 tie and the Tar Heels held a slim lead the rest of the way. Church, who averages 3.8 points, had another 3 with about 40 seconds left that pushed the lead to 77-70. Jones came off the bench to score eight points in the fourth quarter.
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Georgia Tech (17-13) was without coach MaChelle Joseph after she put on leave with no explanation before the last two games of the regular season. Two starters have not played since then.
Tech led by 10 points late in the first quarter and weathered a 13-3 North Carolina run to lead 40-35 at the half.
Elizabeth Dixon and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen had 11 points apiece for the Yellow Jackets and Chanin Scott had 11 points and 10 rebounds.