North Carolina (14-12, 3-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, but methodically clawed back into the game and gave itself a chance by tying the school record for the third time this season with 14 three-pointers.
Paris Kea registered a game-high 27 points, marking her 11th game of the season with at least 20 points. Meanwhile, Cherry had 26 for her fifth game with at least 20 points in the last six. Freshman Taylor Koenen set a new career high with 17 points and in limited minutes, Stephanie Watts added 11.
Georgia Tech (14-12, 3-10) placed four players in double figures, with Francesca Pan leading the way with 18 points. Zaire O’Neil notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Antonia Peresson had 13 off the bench and Imani Tilford had 12.
Both teams got off to a solid shooting night in the first quarter, but turnovers plagued the Tar Heels in falling behind by double figures. The Yellow Jackets took advantage of the extra possessions by making five three-pointers to lead 32-24 after one period.
Fueled by a trio of three-pointers from Cherry, a 14-3 run got Carolina within three points early in the second quarter.
The shots from distance continued to fall for the home team. Watts’ second triple of the quarter had UNC down just 43-42 after trailing by as many as 16 points in the opening quarter.
Down 46-42 at the half, Carolina took its first lead of the game, 50-49, on a free throw from Kea at the 6:38 mark of the third quarter. It wound up a 25-25 stalemate in the period setting up a thrilling final 10 minutes.
The Tar Heels shot an efficient 13-of-15 from the free throw line in third period to keep pace with the Yellow Jackets, who made four of its seven shots from three-point land.
The fourth quarter featured five ties, the last coming when Koenen drilled a corner 3-pointer to knot the game at 86-86 with 41 seconds left. Georgia Tech made one free throw each on separate trips to the charity stripe for an 88-86 edge with six seconds to go.
Carolina called its final timeout to advance the ball to the front court. Cherry called her own number and connected from 35-feet out to give the Tar Heels the win.
Cherry is certainly no stranger to making big shots in her Carolina career. Her most famous shot was the game-winning three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left against Ohio State in the 2015 NCAA Tournament second round.
Cherry made a 40-foot buzzer beater against Louisville in the 2015 ACC Tournament that sent the quarterfinal game into overtime. She did it again to Pitt in the 2016 ACC Tournament with a three-pointer at the end of regulation.
The Tar Heels visit No. 14 Louisville on Sunday at 12 p.m. on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app.