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.