Lady Gamecocks, Tar Heels clash in Carolinas Challenge

South Carolina claimed intra-state bragging rights in football this fall.

North Carolina countered with a win over the other Carolina in men’s basketball earlier this season.

Now the Lady Gamecocks and Tar Heels will settle the score with the rubber match in the Carolinas Challenge at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The college ranks take center court on Sunday at 1 p.m., with East Carolina facing Jacksonville and Coastal Carolina taking on S.C. State at 5 p.m. North Carolina will play East Carolina on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. but the big draw will be today’s showdown between the Lady Gamecocks and No. 18 Tar Heels.

The two teams played four straight years in this tournament, and after a five-year hiatus, the teams renewed the rivalry in 2009. South Carolina’s lone win in the event came on Dec. 20, 2001, when the then-No. 23 Gamecocks upended then-No. 16 North Carolina 85-53.

South Carolina’s defense, rated second in the nation in points allowed, has yielded just 36.3 points per game over its last three outings. The three-game average is the second-lowest in school history, behind the 34.3 points per game allowed from Dec. 17-21, 2005.

Freshman Aleighsa Welch has averaged 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds over the last five games, shooting 75.0 percent during that span.

North Carolina holds a 9-6 edge in the series with its border rival as the Tar Heels have won the last four meetings – in each of which they were ranked in the top 15 in the nation.

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