Sunday, March 30, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA 78, LOUISVILLE 74

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell couldn't bring herself to belabor her team's 25 turnovers, double-digit rebounding deficit or bumbling first half.
The Tar Heels had shown too much grit, too much poise in the face of adversity, to be cut down by their own coach.

LaToya Pringle had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and North Carolina (33-2) climbed out of an 18-point hole in a 78-74 victory over fourth-seeded Louisville (26-10) on Saturday, keeping alive the top-seeded Tar Heels' bid for a third straight trip to the Final Four.

"When you look at those numbers and you still won, I see that as a positive, because I don't think we're going to play like that again," Hatchell said. "Those kids had so much heart. It's tough, and we had to rise to the occasion."

The victory extended the Tar Heels' winning streak to 16 and placed them in the regional final on Monday night, when they'll play the winner of Saturday afternoon's game between LSU and Oklahoma State.

North Carolina guard Cetera DeGraffenreid (22) shoots over Louisville guard Patrika Barlow (3) in the first half of the New Orleans regional of the women's NCAA basketball tournament in New Orleans, Saturday, March 29, 2008. The winner will play LSU or Oklahoma St. in the finals on Monday. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

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