Butts Buzzer-Beater Lifts UNC Over Miami
CORAL GABLES, Fla. --- Danielle Butts hit a buzzer-beating jumper as time expired to lead No. 11 North Carolina to an improbable 64-62 win over Miami Sunday afternoon at BankUnited Center. UNC trailed by five points with 32 seconds left but a Tierra Ruffin-Pratt steal and two free throws tied it before Butts' game-winner. Ruffin-Pratt had 19 points to overcome Morgan Stroman's career-high 28 points and improve the Tar Heels to 19-2 and 7-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
With UNC trailing 62-60, Ruffin-Pratt stole the ball from Krystal Saunders and hit two free throws after being fouled by Stefanie Yderstrom.
When Suriya McGuire missed a layup for Miami (14-6, 5-4) with five seconds remaining, UNC's Brittany Rountree gathered the rebound and moved the ball up the court to Butts, who hit the winning jumper.
The loss snapped an 11-game home winning streak for Miami and was just its second loss in its past 54 home games. The Hurricanes had not lost to an ACC opponent at the BankUnited Center since Feb. 2010.
The lead changed hands 10 times in the second half, including seven times during a 4-minute stretch in the middle of the frame.
Carolina looked to be in control early, leading by as many as 11 late in the first half. But Stroman fueled a run that put the Hurricanes in control, scoring 11 straight by herself at one point.
Down 61-56 with 32.5 to play, Ruffin-Pratt drove coast-to-coast to draw a foul and made both free throws.
The Tar Heels picked up full-court pressure and forced an errant pass by UM's Maria Brown. Xylina McDaniel beat Saunders to the loose ball and made two free throws to cut it to 1. Saunders made 1 of 2 after a foul on the ensuing play before Ruffin-Pratt's steal tied it and Butts' jumper won it.
The win was No. 898 for Sylvia Hatchell, who moved within two of becoming the third women's coach to get to 900. Carolina is back in action Thursday at 7 p.m. against Florida State in Chapel Hill.
Portions of the Associated Press recap were used in this story.