RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina State has been at its best this season when Markeisha Gatling gets plenty of touches to attack the post. The No. 10 Wolfpack just couldn't get the 6-foot-5 senior many good looks against No. 17 North Carolina on Sunday.
Gatling finished with 15 points but managed just seven shots in the 89-82 loss. She sat much of the first half after picking up two fouls, then didn't get the ball many times in the second half where she could make a strong move to the rim.
"Maybe (we) should've got her more touches," first-year coach Wes Moore said. "I may have run too much stuff. Maybe we should've just really spread them out and tried to get Keisha some opportunities.
"But they did a great job of really sinking in, helping down, helping over from the weakside, help pinching in from the corners. They did a nice job of making it tough to get her the ball."
During the Wolfpack's recent six-game winning streak, Gatling had taken between 10 and 15 shots every game. And with her shooting a national-best 68.9 percent from the floor, it was usually a productive way for N.C. State to start its offense.
She went just 3-for-7 against the Tar Heels, her fewest shot attempts in an Atlantic Coast Conference game all year. Most of her production came from her 9-for-10 effort at the foul line.
For North Carolina, Diamond DeShields set a school freshman record with 38 points. Fellow rookie Allisha Gray scored 15 of her 18 points after halftime in her own big performance for the Tar Heels (20-6, 8-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who beat a top-10 opponent on the road for the second time this week. UNC earned its first win at No. 3 Duke in six years Monday, with DeShields scoring 30 in that one.
The 6-foot-1 daughter of ex-major league baseball player Delino DeShields was even better against the Wolfpack (22-4, 9-3), scoring 27 points after halftime.
She made 12 of 23 shots, 5 of 9 3-pointers and all nine of her free throws in her 36 minutes. She hit the go-ahead 3 with 8:25 left to start an 11-1 run that finally put the Tar Heels in control.
It's the most points by a Tar Heels player in a game since Tracy Reid scored 42 points in a triple-overtime loss to Virginia in January 1998.
DeShields and Gray both knocked down four 3-pointers in the second half for the Tar Heels, who shot 59 percent after halftime — including 8-for-12 from behind the arc — and finished the game shooting 55 percent. North Carolina went 13-for-23 from behind the arc for the game.
Senior Kody Burke scored 18 points to lead N.C. State, which had won six straight under Moore to reach the top 10 in the program's best start in 32 years. The Wolfpack fought the Tar Heels tough the entire way, leading 40-39 at halftime despite Gatling playing just 8 minutes in the first half with two fouls.
N.C. State shot 46 percent after halftime, but just couldn't keep up with the Tar Heels once DeShields got rolling.
UNC improved to 11-2 at N.C. State's Reynolds Coliseum since the 2001-02 season.
The game marked N.C. State's annual "Hoops 4 Hope" event, with the Wolfpack wearing pink uniforms — the color of breast cancer awareness — with words like "Hope," ''Courage" and "Inspire" on the back where the player's name normally would be.
The game, started by late Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow, raises money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and honors cancer survivors who fill the court at halftime. The crowd of 8,114 was the program's best attendance for a home game in two years.
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