Staff Photo by Dan Henry -- North Carolina led Central Florida at the half during the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships. UNC's Tar Heels beat UCF's Knights 85-80 at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga.
Heather Clator provided third-seeded North Carolina with a valuable boost off the bench, especially in the second half, and the Tar Heels held off the No. 14 University of Central Florida 85-80 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament at McKenzie Arena.
Claytor came into the game averaging 3.7 points and just 12.8 minutes per game for the Tar Heels (28-6), but while the rest of her team was often sluggish and sloppy, the 5-foot-8 senior was a difference-maker. Claytor scored a season-high 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Eleven of Claytor's points came in the second half as UNC struggled to put away a scrappy UCF squad that came into the game having won 15 of its last 20 games after a 2-11 start to its season.
North Carolina also got 17 points from Italee Lucas, who hit four 3s, and Jessica Breiland, who also had nine rebounds and five blocks.
Chelsie Wiley led the Knights (17-17) with a game-high 22 points.
For more NCAA tournament coverage, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...