Continuing today with entry No. 8, GoHeels.com will be counting down the top 25 games of 2012-13 for the rest of July until we get to No. 1. To catch up on the previous great moments of the Tar Heel year, click here for entries 9-25.
No. 8: Carolina 64, Miami 62 - Women's Basketball, Jan. 27, 2013
Miami's BankUnited Center had been something less than hospitable to the North Carolina women's basketball team entering the 2013 matchup. The Tar Heels hadn't won in Coral Gables since 2008, a stretch of three games that bottomed out with a 61-37 loss in 2012 that featured UNC's lowest scoring output ever in ACC play.
But it wasn't just Carolina that had struggled at the home court of the Hurricanes. Miami, which has emerged from conference cellar-dweller to perennial NCAA tournament team in recent years, came into the late January meeting with a record of 52-1 in its last 53 home games and an ACC home winning streak that dated back to Feb. 2010.
To make matters worse for the Tar Heels, the Sunday afternoon game was part of a brutal back-to-back that saw Carolina travel to Maryland just three days earlier and suffer an 85-59 loss in College Park.
UNC started strong, racing out to an 11-point lead thanks to some suffocating defense. The Tar Heels held Miami to just six made field goals in the first half and forced a total of 27 turnovers on the day, but Carolina struggled to hold on to the ball as well. The lead was still six at the break, however, before Miami made a run behind senior Morgan Stroman.
Stroman, who finished with a career-high 28 points to go with 13 rebounds, fueled a run that put the Hurricanes in control in the second half, scoring 11 straight by herself at one point.
Despite the lead changing 10 times in the second half, Miami threatened to ice the game late, as the hosts led by five, 61-56, with just 32.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt made the first of several crucial plays in the waning moments, getting to the line for a pair of free throws to cut the Miami lead to three. The Tar Heels then picked up full-court pressure and forced an errant pass by UM's Maria Brown. Xylina McDaniel beat Krystal Saunders to the loose ball and made two free throws to cut it to a 1-point deficit.
Carolina fouled next, and Saunders made the first of two free throws to push the Miami lead to 62-60. Saunders missed the second attempt, but in her haste to start a fast break after corralling the rebound, UNC's Danielle Butts threw the ball away to give it back to the Hurricanes. It would not be the last impact that Butts would have on the game, however.
Ruffin-Pratt made her second game-saving play on the ensuing in-bound pass attempt, stealing the entry pass on the near sideline and driving the length of the floor before getting fouled on a layup. The Alexandria, Va., senior made both foul shots, and Carolina had climbed out of a 5-point hole in 20 seconds.
UM's Suriya McGuire got a look at a game-winning layup on the other end, but she missed the mark and Brittany Rountree grabbed the rebound.
Rountree immediately attacked the basket, plunging into the lane before dishing to Butts on the wing. The sophomore from Winterville, N.C., calmly rose and drained a jumper as time expired to give Carolina a 64-62 win and send the Tar Heels rushing to mob Butts in the corner.
The victory, which was No. 898 for Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell, helped get the 2013 ACC campaign back on track after the tough loss at Maryland and ultimately stood as a big piece of the NCAA résumé that allowed the Tar Heels to return to the postseason and earn a No. 3 seed in the Bridgeport Region.
No. 9: Carolina 6, Syracuse 1 - Field Hockey, Nov. 16, 2012
No. 10: Carolina 1, Stanford 0 (OT) - Women's Soccer, Nov. 30, 2012
No. 11: Carolina 3, Florida State 1 - Volleyball, Nov. 3, 2012
No. 12: Carolina 3, Wisconsin 2 (8 inn.) - Softball, May 16, 2013
No. 13: Carolina 2, Duke 1 (OT) - Men's Soccer, Sept. 28, 2012
No. 14: Carolina 79, Maryland 76 - Men's Basketball, March 16, 2013
No. 15: Carolina 10, Maryland 8 - Men's Lacrosse, March 23, 2013
No. 16: Carolina 72, Maryland 65 - Women's Basketball, March 9, 2013
No. 17: Carolina 4, Maryland 3 (OT) - Field Hockey, Oct. 20, 2012
No. 18: Carolina 11, Northwestern 8 - Women's Lacrosse, Feb. 22, 2013
No. 19: Carolina 4, USC 3 - Women's Tennis, Feb. 9, 2013
No. 20: Carolina 3, California 1 - Volleyball, Nov. 29, 2012
No. 21: Carolina 11, Johns Hopkins 10 (OT), Men's Lacrosse, March 30, 2013
No. 22: Carolina 1, Fairleigh Dickinson 0 (OT) - Men's Soccer, Nov. 25, 2012
No. 23: Peacock Smashes NCAA Record - Swimming and Diving, Dec. 2, 2012
No. 24: UNC's Big Day at ACCs - Track and Field, April 19, 2013
No. 25: Carolina 30, NC State 6 - Wrestling, Feb. 1, 2013