March 21, 2004

AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Patrice Holmes scored 18 points, including two free throws with 8.3 seconds left, to lead Middle Tennessee State to a 67-62 victory Sunday over No. 12 North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

This was just the second NCAA tournament victory in nine attempts for the 13th-seeded Lady Raiders, who play Tuesday against host Notre Dame. The Irish (20-1) beat Southwest Missouri State 69-65 in overtime Sunday. North Carolina lost in the first round of the tournament for the first time since 1985.

Krystle Horton had 16 points for Middle Tennessee, Keisha McClinic had 13 points and nine rebounds and Tia Stovall added 12 points and six rebounds.

Camille Little led the fourth-seeded Tar Heels with 19 points and Bell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Raiders (24-7) led 60-48 with 6:30 left, but Jessica Bell scored a pair of rebound baskets to spark a 10-0 run by the Tar Heels (24-7). Fourth-seeded North Carolina cut the lead to 60-58 when Kenya McBee hit two free throws with 3:44 left.

North Carolina had a chance to tie the score at 64, but 6-foot-6 center Candace Sutton missed from underneath. McClinic hit a free throw to give the Lady Raiders a three-point lead. Ivory Latta then missed a 17-footer for North Carolina and Bell failed on a 3-pointer as the Tar Heels were 0-of-13 on 3-pointers.

Holmes then made the clinching foul shots for Middle Tennessee State, which was 14-of-15 from the line.

The Tar Heels outrebounded the Lady Raiders 46-37 and outscored them inside 48-34, but they couldn’t overcome their 17 turnovers. Middle Tennessee scored 20 points off North Carolina’s turnovers, while North Carolina had only 10 points off 14 turnovers by Middle Tennessee State.

After jumping to a 9-2 lead, Middle Tennessee went ahead 18-17 on a layup by Stovall with 7:59 left in the first half. The Lady Raiders led the rest of the way, including 35-26 at halftime.