Her 800th career victory in hand, North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell could finally relax.
"I was about to think it wasn't going to happen there for a while," she said with a chuckle while addressing the home crowd afterward.
It almost didn't.
Rashanda McCants scored 16 points, and the No. 2 Tar Heels dominated overtime to beat visiting North Carolina State, 75-66, yesterday, making Hatchell just the fourth women's coach to reach the 800-win mark.
Hatchell joined Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and C. Vivian Stringer after improving to 800-274 in 34 seasons, with 528 of those wins coming in 23 seasons in Chapel Hill. While at North Carolina, Hatchell has won eight Atlantic Coast Conference crowns, reached three Final Fours and won the 1994 NCAA title.
Yet yesterday, her team struggled with its shot. The Wolfpack (8-8, 0-1 ACC), playing without Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow for the rest of the season as she recovers from another bout of cancer, held the Tar Heels (16-0, 2-0) to 36 percent shooting, including 2-for-23 from three-point range.
It was only after the Tar Heels rallied from a five-point deficit in the final minutes of regulation to reach overtime that Hatchell's team looked like itself.
"I thought we looked good in overtime," Hatchell said. "Maybe we need to warm up for 40 minutes."
No. 10 Louisville 64, No. 17 Rutgers 59: : Angel McCoughtry (St. Frances) scored 31 - including four free throws in the final 20 seconds - as the host Cardinals (16-1, 3-0 Big East) held off the Scarlet Knights (8-5, 0-2) for their 11th straight victory.
Meredith Tolley and Alex Berlin led the host Greyhounds (8-7, 3-2) with nine points each. Loyola has dropped three of four.
Towson 68, George Mason 47: : The visiting Tigers (9-4, 1-2 Colonial Athletic Association) - led by Shanae Baker-Brice with 20 points - outshot the Patriots (9-4, 1-2) 56 percent to 33 percent in the first half to build a lead they would not give up.