Brittany Rountree scored 13 points and No. 15 North Carolina held on to beat No. 8 Maryland 60-57 on Thursday night.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt also had 13 points and Waltiea Rolle added 12 for the Tar Heels (14-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
They blew most of an 11-point second-half lead and were just 1 of 7 from the free-throw line in the final minute but won their seventh straight and first in the series since 2010.
Alyssa Thomas scored 11 of her 15 points in the final 5½ minutes for Maryland (10-3, 1-1), and her drive with 14 seconds left pulled the Terrapins to 59-57.
Danielle Butts hit a free throw with 10.9 seconds left for North Carolina, and teammate Krista Gross missed two foul shots with 9.3 seconds left to give Maryland one last chance.
Ruffin-Pratt blocked Katie Rutan's 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left, and Rutan's 3 attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Tianna Hawkins — who averages an ACC-best 18.8 points per game — finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, but had just six points in the second half on 2-of-8 shooting for Maryland, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.
Thomas, the ACC's player of the year last season, added 16 rebounds — 12 on the defensive end — and almost single-handedly willed the Terrapins back from an 11-point deficit down the stretch.
Maryland shot just 23.5 percent in the second half — mainly because the Terps missed their first 10 shots of the half.
North Carolina came out of the locker room with a 17-1 run that erased a six-point halftime deficit, gave them the lead for good and put them up by double figures. Latifah Coleman's 3-pointer from the right corner capped that spurt and gave North Carolina its first double-figure lead, 46-36.
It grew to 53-42 on Xylina McDaniel's three-point play with 6:59 to go.
But Black's layup with 1:49 left — which made it 59-49 — was the Tar Heels' final field goal. Three times in the final minute, North Carolina missed the front end of a one-and-one.
That gave Thomas a glimmer of hope. She hit a runner, two layups and three free throws before her late drive made it a two-point game.