CHAPEL HILL --- Tierra Ruffin-Pratt finished with 17 points and seven assists and North Carolina closed out the exhibition portion of its schedule with a 90-52 win over Wingate Thursday night at Carmichael Arena. The Tar Heels led just 40-34 at the break but opened the second half on a 19-2 run to turn it into a rout.
Waltiea Rolle added 17 of her own to go with eight rebounds and five blocks for UNC, who will open the 2012-13 regular season Friday, Nov. 9, against Davidson in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT.
Sarah Wollett led all scorers with 18 points for Wingate, who was the preseason pick to win the Division II South Atlantic Conference under first-year head coach Ann Hancock. Hancock was an assistant at UNC for eight seasons including the 1993-94 national championship campaign.
Brittany Rountree joined her senior teammates in double figures with 15, while Xylina McDaniel just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 boards. Megan Buckland also had 11 for the Tar Heels, who forced 40 turnovers on the night.
Wingate used a valiant effort on the boards and some timely three-point shooting to keep the game close early. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Tar Heels 34-22 in the opening 20 minutes, limiting the hosts to just eight second-chance points in the first half.
Ruffin-Pratt scored eight straight halfway through the stanza and capped a 13-0 run with a transition three-pointer to push the Carolina lead to 27-8 with 8:18 to play, but Wingate hung around with a late run of its own.
Still trailing by 15 with under four minutes left in the half, the Bulldogs closed on a 12-3 run over the final 2:13 to get within six.
But Wingate would get no closer as the Tar Heels dominated the start of the second half and pulled away from their Division II opponents.
Carolina used runs of 11-0, 8-0, 9-0 and 10-0 in the second half to pull away and outscore the Bulldogs 50-18 in the final 20 minutes.
The Tar Heel defense was especially sharp after halftime as it held Wollett to just two points after her opening-half 16 and Wingate to 6-of-22 shooting.