CHAPEL HILL --- Xylina McDaniel had 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 14 points as No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat Virginia Tech, 48-45, Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena. Carolina improved to 15-1 with the win, and the Tar Heels are 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time since 2009.
Virginia Tech (7-7, 1-2 ACC) led 20-11 with 5:07 left in the first half before Carolina went on an 11-2 run to close the frame and send the teams into the locker room tied at 22. Ruffin-Pratt had six of her 14 during the run, including a late bucket to tie the game.
Waltiea Rolle's putback to open the second half gave UNC its first lead since 3-2 and the Tar Heels would not trail again, but not before the Hokies made it interesting late.
Carolina slowly extended its lead throughout the final 20 minutes and Megan Buckland's coast-to-coast layup gave the Tar Heels their biggest lead of the afternoon at 44-34. But the hosts would not make another field goal in the final six minutes as Virginia Tech chipped away at the lead.
The Hokies were within four with 2:05 remaining when a held ball gave them possession under their own basket. Rolle, who was defending Alyssa Fenyn along the baseline, swatted three consecutive pass attempts back out of play, bringing the Carmichael Arena fans to their feet in appreciation. On Tech's fourth attempt, Ruffin-Pratt came up with a steal to end a great defensive series for the Tar Heels.
But Virginia Tech wasn't done, and Fenyn's two free throws capped an 11-3 run that cut it to 47-45 with one minute to play. Ruffin-Pratt missed a runner toward the end of the shot clock to give Tech a chance to tie, but Carolina came up with another key late stop. The senior point guard made one of two free throws with 10.0 seconds left, and the Hokies were not able to get off a shot attempt in the final moments.
Carolina won the rebounding battle, 32-29, after trailing 20-15 at halftime, and the Tar Heels forced 24 Hokie turnovers, including eight by Tellier.
Uju Ugoka finished with a game-high 15 points to lead the Hokies, while Tellier had 12.
UNC's 48 points established a new school record for fewest points in a win, a record that had been tied earlier in the season in Carolina's 49-21 victory over North Carolina Central. The Tar Heels have now won three games in 2012-13 when scoring fewer than 60 points, something they had only done once since 2005.
Sunday's victory was also win No. 894 for Sylvia Hatchell, who has drawn even with Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer for the national lead among active coaches.
Carolina will look to continue its winning ways on Thursday, when the Tar Heels make the short drive down I-40 to face NC State in Raleigh. That game is set for a 7 p.m. start and will be broadcast live on YouTube via the ACC Digital Network.