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Tar Heels’ Latta returns to her home state with dazzling show

The Spokesman-Review

Ivory Latta made her latest trip home one of her best.

Latta had 22 points – her best as a college player in her native state – to keep No. 5 North Carolina unbeaten with an 87-67 victory over No. 19 Vanderbilt at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Latta has no doubt why she plays so well on the Grand Strand.

“Oh man, it’s like coming home,” Latta said.

The Tar Heels (11-0) are off to their best start since the 1994-95 season when they were 18-0. Latta was a big reason why in this one.

She had three layups to kick-start a 19-2 first-half run that gave North Carolina the lead for good. Then she got to have fun as the lead kept growing, putting on a show in her return to her native state.

Vanderbilt (8-3) did not have an answer for Latta.

Latta, from McConnells near the North Carolina border, is the Palmetto State’s all-time prep scoring leader and has been particularly crisp at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. During her senior year at York Comprehensive in 2002, Latta scored 53 points on this court.

(1) Tennessee 107, Princeton 39: At Knoxville, Tenn., Shanna Zolman scored 23 points and Tye’sha Fluker had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the Lady Vols (10-0) past the Tigers (6-4).

(3) LSU 89, Tulane 60: At Baton Rouge, La., Seimone Augustus scored 20 points, Sylvia Fowles added 19 and the Tigers (8-0) pulled away in the second half to defeat the Green Wave (4-2).

(7) Ohio St. 84, Sacred Heart 40: At Columbus, Ohio, Jessica Davenport had 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Buckeyes (7-1) bounced back from their only loss with a victory over the Pioneers (6-2).

(14) DePaul 96, Loyola of Chicago 48: At Chicago, Khara Smith scored 17 points and Caprice Smith added 12 to lead the Blue Demons (11-1) past the Ramblers (0-10).

(21) Purdue 61, Mississippi St. 42: At Starkville, Miss., Katie Gearlds had 15 points and the Boilermakers (8-2) defeated the Bulldogs (4-7) in the championship game of the Mississippi State Classic.

Louisiana Tech 84, (24) Mississippi 71: At Ruston, La., Tasha Williams scored 21 points and Ty Moore added 20 as the Lady Techsters (6-3) snapped a six-game winning streak for the Rebels (9-2).

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