CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Candance Brown made a layup with 1.2 seconds left and Gardner-Webb rallied to shock No. 22 North Carolina 66-65 on Friday in the opener for both teams.
''It was a great win for us, for our program,'' Gardner-Webb coach Rick Reeves said after the program's first win over a ranked opponent. ''I was very proud of our players. That they never quit.''
Gardner-Webb trailed by 15 points entering the fourth quarter.
''I told them if you don't start playing hard enough, none of you are getting on the bus. You will walk home,'' Reeves joked. ''No I didn't say that. I just have confidence in them. We were playing hard but we weren't playing smart at the time.''
Kiera Currie's 3-pointer with 6:12 to play capped a 16-2 run to open the fourth, but the Bulldogs didn't take a lead until Currie's jumper at the 3:05 mark. The teams traded the lead several times, with the Tar Heels going up 65-64 on Jamie Cherry's 3-pointer with 8 seconds left.
''I saw a couple of our players heads go down and I was like `guys we still have 7 seconds' and I knew we had a good chance to win it,'' Brown said. ''If we got fouled, we were at the line so I had complete confidence that we were going to win it. Seven seconds is a long time.''
The Bulldogs moved up to Division I in 2000 - the same year North Carolina last lost an opener. They called a timeout with 7 seconds to go and - per the new rules implemented this season along with the change to four quarters instead of two halves - were allowed to inbound the ball in the front court.
''I knew I had to win the game, so I did whatever it took to win the game,'' Brown said. ''So that was all that was going through my head, win.''
Brown finished with 17 points. Alexus Hill added 14 points for the Bulldogs and Olivia Parker had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cherry led North Carolina with 25 points.
Gardner-Webb led 25-24 at halftime but the Tar Heels took control by outscoring the Bulldogs 27-11 in the third quarter.