MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 17 of her game-high 24 points after halftime and No. 17 North Carolina pulled away from East Carolina late, winning 76-67 Wednesday night at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Ruffin-Pratt beat the shot clock with a 3 inside the final minute to put away the Pirates, who led by a point at halftime.
Whitny Edwards finished with 15 to lead ECU (8-3), while her twin sister Britny added 12 and six rebounds.
Carolina got a needed shot in the arm in the final seconds of the first half, as Antoinette Bannister took a rebound the length of the floor and converted a three-point play with just one second left.
UNC extended the run to 12-2 after the break but could not finish off the Pirates until late.
It looked like Carolina would break it open after a five-point possession capped by a Latifah Coleman layup made it 51-42 with 9:19 to play. But ECU got within two on a pair of Britny Edwards free throws with just 1:52 to play.
A Gross layup made it 71-67 before Ruffin-Pratt's buzzer-beating 3 sealed it for UNC.
The Tar Heels are back in action on Friday, Dec. 28, at 2 p.m. when they host East Tennessee State at Carmichael Arena.