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Stealing the show

Barksdale puts finishing touches on UNC victory

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Posted: Saturday March 13, 1999 12:47 AM


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- LaQuanda Barksdale's two steals and follow-up baskets came at just the right time for North Carolina.

Northeastern held the No. 14 Tar Heels to just 25-for-64 shooting and their lowest point production of the year Friday night even though North Carolina got a 64-55 win in the first round of the women's NCAA Midwest Regional.

But the Tar Heels struggled until Barksdale scored back-to-back baskets off consecutive steals just 15 seconds apart to give North Carolina a 59-51 lead with 1:13 to play.

"'Those were big steals," North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We picked up our pressure on the ball at the end and it really paid off.'

Barksdale finished with 13 points, while Juana Brown and Chanel Wright each added 12 points for North Carolina (27-7).

Betsy Palecek scored 22 points, including the last 11 points for Northeastern (22-8) in the game. Northeastern had no other players to reach double figures in scoring.

"I frankly did not know before the game if we could match up with their athleticism," Northeastern Coach Joy Malchodi said. "We were able to do it, and do it well."

Palecek's jumper from the left wing gave Northeastern its last lead at 50-48 with 5:59 to play.

Wright responded with two consecutive layups over the next 38 seconds to put North Carolina in front for good.

Then Barksdale stole an inbounds pass and drove in for one layup and followed that by stealing a pass at the top of Northeastern's key and taking it all the way in for a 59-51 lead with 1:13 to play.

Barksdale added another layup and the other Tar Heels hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 56 seconds to ice the win.

North Carolina trailed 27-23 at halftime after its worst shooting half of the year, making just 11 of 35 shots.

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