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Monday, November 17, 2008
Ruffin-Pratt chooses Tar Heels

By Mindi Rice
ESPN HoopGurlz

Tierra Ruffin
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country.

One of the few remaining mysteries of the 2009 early signing period is solved: Ninth-ranked Tierra Ruffin-Pratt will attend the University of North Carolina.

Ruffin-Pratt, who has been quiet about her recruiting throughout the fall, confirmed her commitment to the Tar Heels via e-mail to ESPN HoopGurlz.

The 5-foot-10 guard from Alexandria, Va., also took official visits to Virginia, Duke and Rutgers but chose coach Sylvia Hatchell's North Carolina program Monday, signing her National Letter of Intent at 6 p.m.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt takes the ball to the rack strong for Boo Williams Elite.

"Everything felt right," Ruffin-Pratt wrote about her choice. "I got along with the team and the coaching staff very well."

Ruffin-Pratt will add a defensive intensity few can replicate to the UNC team, as well as speed and strength offensively when driving toward the basket that allows her to hit short jumpers or keep driving to the hoop.

She will also fit in well with the girls, many of whom she already knows. Ruffin-Pratt took her official visit Sept. 19, joining UNC commits Waltia Rolle and Cierra Warren. She already knows four current Tar Heels -- junior Jessica Breland, senior Iman McFarland and freshman She'la White from the Boo Williams club program, as well as freshman Chay Shegog from playing against her during club tournaments.

The guard from T.C. Williams High School played a limited amount during the summer viewing period after dislocating her left shoulder during a playoff game in February.

"My shoulder is great," wrote Ruffin-Pratt, who said she's interested in studying graphic design and printing at UNC. "I'm back playing full time. I'm doing my rehab real hard and will continue doing it throughout the season."

Ruffin-Pratt's signing boosts Hatchell's incoming 2009 class well into the top 10, as she joins No. 23 Krista Gross from Concord, N.C.; No. 28 Rolle from Houston, Texas; No. 31 Warren from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; and No. 88 Nyree Williams from Ellicott City, Md.

T.C. Williams plays its first game Dec. 2 against Forest Park, when Ruffin-Pratt will officially begin her senior season, now with her college decision out of the way.

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Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and can be reached at