CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Paris Kea scored a season-high 30 points to help North Carolina stun No. 1 Notre Dame 78-73 on Sunday.
Leah Church came through with a 3-pointer at the 1:25 mark for her only basket, which broke a 71-all tie to put the Tar Heels (12-9, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) ahead for good on the way to a major upset.
UNC led by 10 early in the fourth quarter before Notre Dame ran off 12 straight points to take the lead. But instead of crumpling, the Tar Heels found a counterpunch.
Kea hit two free throws in the final 20 seconds to help keep control for the Tar Heels, who mobbed each other on the court as the horn sounded.
Marina Mabrey had 20 points to lead the Fighting Irish (19-2, 6-1), who shot 49 percent but committed 20 turnovers in a mistake-filled showing on the road. Notre Dame’s only other loss came to then-No. 2 UConn in December.
The Irish were missing Jackie Young, who had a triple-double in Thursday’s win over Tennessee.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish had cruised through their first six ACC games, including a 14-point win in a 1-vs-2 matchup against Louisville. The other five games had come against unranked opponents, and Notre Dame had led each by double figures at halftime on the way to 20-point margins. That same edge never showed up in Chapel Hill.
UNC: The Tar Heels were coming off a win at Virginia Tech for their second win in three outings after an 0-3 ACC start. So it was hard to see this coming. But Kea was unstoppable for much of the day, while Stephanie Watts (19 points) and the rest of the Tar Heels played with confidence that resulted in a wildly unexpected outcome.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish play their third straight road game Thursday at Clemson.
UNC: The Tar Heels host Georgia Tech on Thursday.
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