Georgia Tech had been looking for a signature victory all season long, and on Sunday the Yellow Jackets finally got one.
Sasha Goodlett had 13 points to lead three players in double figures as the No. 22 Yellow Jackets edged No. 22 North Carolina 56-54 to beat a team ranked in the Top 25 for the first time this season.
The contest was the first between same-ranked teams in women's basketball since Jan. 14, 2003, when No. 14 Mississippi State beat No. 14 Vanderbilt 78-75. STATS LLC does not have a record of a men's game matching same-ranked teams.
Metra Walthour added 11 points and Tyaunna Marshall 10 for the Yellow Jackets (18-7, 8-4 ACC), who broke their tie with the Tar Heels for fourth place in the ACC.
Laura Broomfield had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the only double-figure scorer for UNC (17-8, 7-5), which has lost three straight — all to ranked teams.
"I'm really proud of the way we gutted it out down the stretch," said Yellow Jackets coach MaChelle Joseph, whose team has won four straight in the series. "We made plays at the end of the game, and that says a lot about our character and resilience. At the end, it didn't come down to scoring. It came down to defensive stops.
"In the seven losses we have, they were all to Top 15 teams in the country. We needed a win over a Top 25 team just to understand what it takes to get over that hump."
UNC had its biggest lead of the game at 51-44 on a Broomfield basket with 6:41 to play, but the Yellow Jackets took over from there, scoring 12 straight points until Brittany Rountree's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"It's an extremely disappointing loss, especially since we had that lead," UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "You've got to make layups, and we missed layups and put-backs, and with the clock running down we didn't do some of the things we're supposed to do. We didn't attack the basket and we played like we were scared."
Tech shot 38.9 percent (21 of 54) to 36.1 (22 of 61) for the Tar Heels. UNC won the rebound battle 39-37, but committed 18 turnovers to 15 for the Yellow Jackets.
"It's tough going against great front-line players every night, but that's just the ACC," said the 6-5 center Goodlett. "I just came in with the mindset that I had to go hard and play my role for my team in order to be successful."
It was just the second double-figure scoring performance for Broomfield in her last 15 games. She has six double-doubles this season and 27 for her career.
"I'm perfectly fine now," said Broomfield, who has dealt with foot and eye injuries earlier this season. "I'm healthy, no injuries. We came in with a good mentality today. Just down the stretch, things just seemed to break down. We just needed to finish and we didn't."