UNC holds off St. John’s to advance to second round of NCAA Tournament

The No. 6 North Carolina women’s basketball team’s road to an NCAA title continues as it beat No. 11 St. John’s, 61-59, on Saturday afternoon.

In addition to Courtney Banghart having a fully healthy UNC team at her disposal, the biggest key to the victory was North Carolina’s ability to defend the paint no matter who came charging in.

In the second quarter, the defensive pressure was at its highest and UNC allowed five points.

As the game continued, the score drew closer as momentum switched back and forth. Finally, with the game tied at 58, Deja Kelly did what she does best: drive to a bucket for a plus-one that gave UNC a three-point lead.

A questionable foul on a 3-point attempt sent St. John’s to the line, but it only sank one of three attempts, giving UNC the 61-59 win.

Kelly finished with 18 points and four rebounds, adding another impressive performance to her resume.

North Carolina will take on No. 3 Ohio State, which dominated its first game of the tournament, 80-66, over James Madison. It will be the first time the Tar Heels face the Buckeyes this season. UNC had a similar outcome over James Madison, winning 76-65 in November.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire